In a December 1st morning news conference I’m sure was timed just coincidentally to hit all the Sunday shows, the folks over at Health & Human Services announced that the healthcare insurance website was fixed and open for business. People who expect to use the Exchange to purchase insurance starting in January have until December 23rd to sign up.
So, how’s it going? According to a story in today’s AJC, maybe not so well.
[Greg] Paulauskis, an early retiree who buys his own health insurance, has also been trying to shop for coverage for himself and his wife since the day the Health Insurance Marketplace opened.
On Monday, he noticed that the website was quicker and that its appearance had changed. He tried to access his application that had been “completed” over the phone with a representative, so that he could finally get to the step of selecting a plan. But the application wasn’t visible on the site. He called and went through another lengthy process to be told, again, what he’s heard before: he can’t see the plans on the site, but the operator could read plan information to him.
Even if you are able to get through and register on healthcare.gov, what you find may not be very appealing. The Washington Examiner took a look at what consumers around the country might find in the health plans available to them.
In metro Atlanta, only 56% of insurers decided to offer insurance through the Exchange. Among the missing, United Healthcare, Aetna and Coventry. Available plans limit your choice of hospitals:
Humana has only one hospital in Atlanta — Northside Hospital — which is Humana’s only exchange hospital in the state. There are about 60 hospitals in the Atlanta [area]. There also are no exchange hospitals available in nearby Gwinnett County, with a population of 805,000.
The article also notes that premiums in the Peach State have risen 80-100% from what was being charged in 2013.
Remember “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”? Yeah, right.