Are the Obamacare Health Insurance Exchanges Ready to Roll?

Photo (cc) by jurno

Americans who don’t get insurance through work and buy it themselves can begin shopping for their 2015 coverage on a state or federal online marketplace on Saturday, Nov. 15.

After a disastrous rollout in 2013, it’s no surprise that some Americans are wondering what to expect with HealthCare.gov this time around. But those in charge say the technological glitches have been eliminated.

“We’re very confident we’re going to be in good shape beginning Saturday,” Kevin Counihan, who was appointed to head HealthCare.gov in August, told CBS News.

Counihan also said the application process is a lot more streamlined than it was a year ago, which will make it easier for people to navigate and complete. CBS reported:

Customers will also be able to choose from more insurance companies — 25 percent more. This, [Counihan] says, will create more competition and better pricing.

State health care exchanges in Oregon and Nevada flopped last year, leading both states to make some big changes this go-round.

“Cover Oregon was the only exchange in the nation that never fully launched and didn’t let the public enroll in coverage in one sitting,” The Associated Press said.

After ditching its troubled exchange in April, Cover Oregon transitioned to using the federal portal. Because of that, the estimated 105,000 Oregonians who previously enrolled in a private plan through Cover Oregon will be required to re-enroll on HealthCare.gov, AP said.

According to AP, Nevada’s health insurance exchange rollout in 2013 was an epic fail.

“Website glitches left people without coverage they paid for, enrollments were less than one-third of what state officials predicted, and complications led to a lawsuit against the state and its contractor, Xerox,” AP said.

Like Oregon, Nevada will be using the federal HealthCare.gov site to enroll Nevadans in insurance plans. People who enrolled through Nevada Health Link last year need to re-enroll by Dec. 15 or “they will lose any subsidies they have received when the new year starts,” AP reported.

Those who enrolled through Maryland’s marketplace last year will need to re-enroll at Maryland’s new website by Dec. 18 or lose subsidies, The New York Times said. In all, 13 states and Washington, D.C., have their own marketplaces this year, and the rest are using HealthCare.gov.

The Obama administration is hoping that about 9.1 million people sign up for insurance during open enrollment, which ends Feb. 15.

So far, Obamacare is doing a better job at controlling health care costs than expected, wrote Ezra Klein, editor-in-chief at Vox. The Kaiser Family Foundation recently analyzed data for 48 cities and found that insurance premiums are actually decreasing by an average of 0.2 percent.

Unfortunately, the decreases aren’t universal.

“There are places where prices are skyrocketing (like Anchorage, Alaska, where they’re rising by 28 percent; or Minneapolis, Minn., where they’re rising by 18 percent) and places where prices are plummeting (in Jackson, Miss., prices are falling by 24 percent; and in Denver, Colo., they’re falling by 15.6 percent),” Klein wrote.

Click here for five things you should know about marketplace open enrollment. Here are the steps you have to take to renew or change the health insurance you purchased last year through a marketplace.

Did you enroll in a health insurance plan last year using a state or federal exchange? Share your experience below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
7 Hidden Sections of Amazon Every Shopper Should Know
7 Hidden Sections of Amazon Every Shopper Should Know

These little-known departments of Amazon are gold mines for deal-seekers and impulse shoppers alike.

9 Things You Should Never Pay For With a Debit Card
9 Things You Should Never Pay For With a Debit Card

Use your debit card for one of these expenses, and you could risk your bank account balance, your credit score or even identity fraud.

26 Work-From-Home Jobs That Pay $100,000
26 Work-From-Home Jobs That Pay $100,000

These lucrative gigs let you work in your slippers.

8 Ways to Slash Your Internet Bill
8 Ways to Slash Your Internet Bill

No matter what price you are paying for internet service, taking these simple steps can lower it.

New Ways to Save Money on Insurance of Every Kind
New Ways to Save Money on Insurance of Every Kind

Tech startups are making it easy to find the best rates for all kinds of insurance policies.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership
How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership

The warehouse club often has some of the cheapest gas in town. Here’s how you can get it as a nonmember.

10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home
10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home

If you like to keep things simple, avoid these purchases.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Vacuums from this brand can last a half-century, if not longer — and they’re hot on the resale market.

A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today
A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today

A few steps can keep your phone from ringing when a spammer calls.

This Company Makes the Best Tires in America
This Company Makes the Best Tires in America

Driver satisfaction with tires is at an all-time high, but one brand stands out.

This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance
This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance

One type of pain is especially associated with cognitive decline.

Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?
Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?

Knowing when to claim can help you maximize benefits.

Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs
Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs

Don’t let these health care expenses catch you off guard in retirement.

8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon
8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon

The giant retailer shines when it comes to these things, from basics to hard-to-find specialty goods.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food
5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food

Anyone can take advantage of these resources.

Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken
Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken

Something foul may lurk in those delicious, ready-to-eat birds.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

This iconic dinnerware is prized for everyday use as well as reselling for profit.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home
6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home

Stashing money around the house is anything but harmless.

5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees
5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees

All of these states are located in the same region of the nation.

12 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
12 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic
5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic

Sometimes the brand-name version is clearly superior.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.