The third ever open enrollment has started across the country for people buying coverage for 2016.
It’s that time of year again, when the health insurance exchange open enrollment begins so that consumers across the United States can shop for, compare, and purchase the coverage they need for 2016 in order to comply with the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act.
The open enrollment period for buying the health plans officially started on Sunday, November 1.
Initial reports showed that consumers were already using the online marketplaces across the country and the majority were not reporting any technical problems that would disrupt enrollment. This is a vastly different situation when compared to the first open enrollment period for the health insurance exchange. The federal site faced massive crashes and extensions had to be put into place in order to give people enough time to overcome the technical barriers that had essentially made enrollment impossible.
The health insurance exchange situation across the country is showing considerable interest from consumers.
In Maryland, alone, the insurance exchange officials reported that there had been 780 people who had signed up for the site by late afternoon on Sunday – the first day. There were also a large number of other people who met in person or who phoned professional advisers in order to start to gain the information they required for decision making. Maryland was among the exchanges that saw its launch free of any technical problems, which had not been the case at this time of year in 2013.
This reduction in problems with the health insurance marketplaces is a continuing positive trend. While 2013 may have been a disaster, things had already smoothed out considerably by 2014. This year, it looks like the more user-friendly websites that are free of major glitches and that are supported by brokers that are far more knowledgeable have made yet another difference in simplifying the shopping process for consumers.
Maryland officials reported that by 4 pm on Sunday, the state health insurance exchange had seen 834 enrollments, which included 147 in Medicaid, 493 in health plans, and 194 that purchased dental plans.