October 1, 2013: The Beginning of Open Enrollment
October 1 will probably bring a fairly heavy influx of consumers enrolling in plans, but the busy start is expected to drop off. Initially, people will probably choose to familiarize themselves with the exchange, go through the application process, and begin evaluating their options; consumers will take their time to actually purchase coverage that does not take effect until January 1, 2014. Many people tend to wait until the last minute, so the end of the year should bring another heavy period of enrollment, as should March when people will enroll last minute to avoid facing a penalty.
Many states are viewing October 1 as the beginning of a test period; using the initial launch to work out glitches and ensure processes are smooth. Exchanges may not be fully operational come October 1. In an earlier post, Oregon Delays Access to Health Insurance Exchange, we reported that on October 1, Oregon consumers will not be able to apply online directly through the new online health insurance marketplace called Cover Oregon. In a press release, Cover Oregon Announces Launch Plan for October, it was announced that while the exchange will be ready to launch the online marketplace October 1, Oregonians will only be able to apply online directly later in October.
“It’s not uncommon for technology projects of this importance to launch in phases,” said Triz delaRosa, Chief Operating Officer of Cover Oregon. “We’re opening on time with all of the planned features for individuals and small businesses. And, by launching through our network of trained agents and community partners, we can correct bugs, fine-tune the process and ensure the shopping experience is easy and seamless now and into the future.”
New information is being released every day. Follow this blog to receive updates as new information is released regarding the exchanges.
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