Technical difficulties plagued the healthcare.gov signup process over the last few days of Open Enrollment. As a result of these problems, CMS, the government body that oversees the Affordable Care Act, has extended the Open Enrollment deadline to February 22nd. Remember, if you don't obtain coverage that begins 3/1/15, you cannot purchase health insurance this year unless you qualify for the Special Election period (have a baby, get a divorce, or have some other qualifying life change event). If you miss out on this last chance, you'll be locked out and won't be able to purchase an ACA plan in 2015. Make sure to grab this last opportunity to buy coverage.
I think all of us fall into the trap of believing that every product or service can be commoditized and packaged into an easy to understand, easy to purchase widget where price is the only consideration. The internet has been wonderful in the sense that we can now easily compare prices and read reviews and buy from the comfort of our living room while watching television and taking a phone call. Unfortunately, we've seen in the last several weeks several instances that have reminded us that easy price searches are not enough and health insurance is not a commodity. Health insurance shoppers need better tools to examine plan choices and must be able to rely on an expert source to answer specific questions that apply to their situation. The reality is that our busy lives don't have room for carving out hours to research health plans on our own or determining whether a doctor is in one network or another. When we do take time to shop for health coverage during this open enrollment period, insurance shoppers want to ensure they get quick responses, comprehensive information, and answers to specific personal questions.