KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

Consumers Can ‘Window Shop’ On Healthcare.gov Before Sign-Up Period Begins

HHS officials hope this function will help reduce strain on the federal website, which will launch Nov. 15 for the health law's second open season.

USA Today: Healthcare.gov Opens For Insurance Plan Shoppers
The Department of Health and Human Services is trying to prevent a repeat of last year's disastrous rollout of HealthCare.gov, an experience that many newly insured consumers may want to avoid going through again. HHS principal deputy administrator Andy Slavitt said the window shopping "functionality has been ready for a while ... (but) obviously we've been continuing to test it." (O'Donnell, 11/9)

The Wall Street Journal: Upgraded Health Site Faces Test This Week
An updated version of HealthCare.gov now includes a window-shopping tool that could help the website withstand new pressures, including millions of people returning in coming months for insurance, federal officials said Sunday. ... Supporters of the 2010 health law, bruised by the site’s poor performance early on, have sought assurances that it will perform better this time around. Critics, including Republicans set to take control of the Senate in January, are likely to point to any flaws as proof of bigger problems with the law. (Radnofsky, 11/9)

Reuters: U.S. Officials Hope New Healthcare.gov Avoids Last Year's Problems
U.S. officials planned to unveil an improved healthcare insurance website on Sunday they hope will allow the second enrollment period under President Barack Obama's health reform plan to avoid the technical meltdown that plagued its launch last year. The reconfigured HealthCare.gov insurance marketplace will go live Sunday night before a three-month open enrollment period that begins Nov. 15, during which existing policyholders can change their coverage. (Schneider, 11/9)

Still, officials are concerned that some issues from the last time around could again pose problems and The Washington Post offers a closer look at how they are working to avoid that -

The Washington Post: Obama Officials Work On Health Site Contingency Plans As Enrollment Nears
With the next time to buy health plans under the Affordable Care Act starting in less than a week, the Obama administration is expressing confidence that HealthCare.gov is no longer the rickety online insurance marketplace that exasperated consumers a year ago. Behind the scenes, however, federal health officials and government contractors are scrambling, according to confidential documents and federal and outside experts familiar with this work. (Goldstein, 11/9)

And here are some points consumers need to know about -

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.