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News : Calls and Web Traffic Surge Ahead of Obamacare Enrollment Deadline
Washington, DC, USA, Dec 14, 2015 -- A high volume of callers and users on HealthCare.gov could mean short delays for some consumers rushing to enroll in coverage by Tuesday’s deadline.
In order for health insurance to kick in on Jan. 1, Americans must be enrolled in the federal health exchange by Tuesday—and demand at the call centers and on the website is "unprecedented," according to Lori Lodes, a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services spokeswoman. While some Americans itching to sign up may experience wait times, CMS says not to panic.
"Any consumer who is trying to get covered ahead of the deadline for January 1 coverage—either at HealthCare.gov or the call center—will be able to do so," Lodes said in an emailed statement sent to reporters Monday. "Consumers should not worry, we are ready to help any consumer who is in-line for coverage to complete their enrollment for January 1 coverage."
Consumers trying to reach the call center may instead be asked to leave their contact information and receive a call back later, which also happened last year. CMS will start reaching back out to those callers on Wednesday, but they’ll still be able to receive coverage starting New Year’s Day.
Some may be asked to wait a "short time" before being able to log in to their account or create one. Average wait times to log in to the site Monday afternoon were less than two minutes, Andy Slavitt, CMS acting administrator, tweeted at about 1:45 p.m. That’s a far cry from when HealthCare.gov first opened for business in 2013, where users faced technical glitches and administration officials faced harsh criticism for the marketplace’s bumbled rollout.
On Friday, CMS announced that several new tools—such as a prescription drug lookup, doctor and facility lookup, and out-of-pocket cost calculator—would be available to all users. Jan. 31 is the final day of the third open enrollment season, which has so far enrolled more than 1 million new customers and and seen 1.8 million people come back to the marketplace for coverage, CMS announced last week.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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HealthCare.gov is a health insurance exchange website operated under the United States federal government under the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA, often known as 'Obamacare'), designed to serve the residents of the thirty-six U.S. states that opted not to create their own state exchanges.
Published: Tuesday, December 15, 2015