Obamacare enrollment: smooth sailing, despite political storms

Obamacare,  or the Affordable Care Act, saw more than 100,000 signups over the weekend, and Healthcare.gov appeared to be working just fine. Those interested in exploring options under Obamacare may use the website, call a phone center or visit designated centers to shop in person until Feb. 15.

Don Ryan/AP/File
The HealthCare.gov website, where people can buy health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, on a laptop screen in Portland, Ore. Over 100,000 Americans signed up for a plan under Obamacare over the weekend.

More than 100,000 Americans signed up for health insurance this weekend under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, as the program’s second open-enrollment period got underway.

And if you plan to join them, or are one of the millions looking to change plans under the ACA, here’s some good news: HealthCare.gov appeared to be working just fine.

That’s in sharp contrast to last year, when technical bugs and high demand caused the government website to buckle under the weight of visitors looking for coverage via the online marketplace.

“I think the vast majority of people coming to the site were able to get on and do what they intended to do,” Sylvia Mathews Burwell, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

The site appeared to be working briskly on multiple Web browsers Monday morning.

Burwell said another 500,000 people, most of them presumably existing policy holders, had also accessed the site on Saturday and early Sunday.

About 7.1 million people have signed up for insurance under the ACA, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Obama administration hopes as many as 3 million new customers will sign up this year.

Open enrollment will continue through February 15.

How to enroll

Those interested in exploring options under Obamacare may use the website, call a phone center or visit designated health centers to shop in person.

The marketplace allows consumers to compare options, see if they qualify for a plan with lower costs and select coverage that best meets their needs. About 85% of those who signed up last year received some kind of financial assistance, according to the department

On “Meet the Press,” Burwell declined to say how late she’d stayed up Friday night to make sure HealthCare.gov was behaving. Open enrollment began at about 1:30 a.m. Saturday. Later that day, Burwell attended an enrollment event at the Evergreen Health Center in Manassas, Virginia, where counselors were helping people enroll.

On her Twitter account, Burwell said there were more than 100,000 calls to the program’s call center as well. In the week leading up to open enrollment, Burwell said 1 million people visited the ACA site.

“What they’re doing is they’re comparing,” she said on “Meet the Press.” “They’re comparing based on premiums, they’re comparing based on deductibility. When you give the American people the tools to make the right choices for themselves, they’re going to do that.”

Smooth sailing image via Shutterstock.

The post Smooth Sailing As Enrollment Begins for Obamacare 2015 appeared first on NerdWallet News.

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