Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Nearly 2.5 Million Consumers Have Selected Health Plans On Federal Marketplace

By Mary Agnes Carey

Wed, Dec 17 2014

More than 1 million people selected a health plan during the fourth week of the health law’s open enrollment and nearly 2.5 million have done so since it began Nov. 15, federal officials said Tuesday.

“And this was before an extremely busy weekend,” said Andy Slavitt, principal deputy administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which oversees the federal online marketplace used by 37 states.

Tuesday’s report did not include enrollment for the final three days before the Dec. 15 deadline for people to enroll if they want coverage to begin Jan. 1.

Just over half of those individuals who have selected plans since the health law’s second open enrollment season began are returning customers. Enrollment in the states running their own exchanges is not yet available.

As expected, interest in soared in the final days before the mid-December deadline, with 1.6 million people phoning the call center from Dec. 13 through Dec. 15, officials told reporters.

To avoid longer waiting times, nearly 500,000 people who called just hours before the Dec. 15 midnight PST deadline left their contact information. Website officials have begun to call them back, Slavitt said, and they will be able to enroll in coverage to begin Jan. 1.

At its peak volume Monday, had more than 125,000 concurrent users but “we did not run into capacity constraints,” Slavitt said. “In other words, we are able to handle even more volume in the coming months ahead.” One website “waiting room” was used for about 90 minutes for “several thousand” individuals creating new accounts, Slavitt said. Their average wait time was about three minutes. Returning customers or those doing “window shopping” were not affected, Slavitt added.

In a call with reporters, Slavitt and Kevin Counihan, the CEO of, said federal officials have begun to automatically re-enroll 2014 customers who have not selected a new plan for 2015. Less than 5 percent of current enrollees could not be automatically re-enrolled, Counihan said.

source : Nearly 2.5 Million Consumers Have Selected Health Plans On Federal Marketplace

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