The website went live on Sunday night for those who want to window shop for policies.
The federal insurance exchange has finally gone up for health plan window shoppers, and while this service was expected ahead of the open enrollment date of November 15, it still occurred slightly later than was expected.
This was because government officials were making sure that the technology and message were better refined.
The goal of the early availability of the insurance exchange site ahead of open enrollment is to encourage people who purchased a health plan for this last year to re-enroll in order to save money when they buy their policies for next year, starting on November 15. This is all part of a broader effort by the Department of Health and Human Services to help to prevent the mess of a rollout that the website experienced last year, which shook the confidence of many consumers and has caused them to hesitate to want to go through that struggle again for another year.
The window shopping option for health plans has been ready for a while but has been undergoing extensive testing.
According to the principal deputy administrator of the HHS, Andy Slavitt, the window shopping functionality for health insurance through the Healthcare.gov website “has been ready for a while…obviously we’ve been continuing to test it.”
The launch of this option at the health care reform website arrived only two days following a decision by the Supreme Court to reconsider the ruling of a lower court that had upheld the system within the Affordable Care Act for subsidizing the required insurance policies. The announcement made by Slavitt on the weekend revealed that the administration is not concerned about the decision that the Supreme Court will make.
Slavitt stated that “We believe consumers are very confident in the subsidies being offered,” and added that “We encourage everybody to see what’s available on the website.”
Insurance companies selling health plans on the exchange had been prepared to give consumers the opportunity to browse their plans as of last Friday, but Slavitt explained that the department wanted to be absolutely certain that the site would be accessible first thing on Monday, “when they’re starting to think about the marketplace.”