Covered California Sign-Ups Reach 1.2M at End of Open Enrollment
About 1.2 million California residents signed up for health coverage through the state insurance exchange as of 2 a.m. Monday, the last day of open enrollment, the San Francisco Business Times' "Bay Area BizTalk" reports (Rauber, "Bay Area BizTalk," San Francisco Business Times, 3/31).
Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee said there was a "huge surge" in interest as open enrollment drew to a close this week (Gorman, "Capsules," Kaiser Health News, 4/1). For instance:
155,988 residents enrolled in coverage through the exchange from March 24 to 2 a.m. on March 31; and
389,840 residents created an account on the exchange during that time (Covered California release , 3/31).
In addition, there were about 420,000 unique visitors to the Covered California website by 5 p.m. Sunday, and more applications were started through the state exchange that day than any other day during open enrollment.
Lee said, "That volume of response is unprecedented" ("Capsules," Kaiser Health News, 4/1).
Exchange Website Partially Disabled To Aid Sign-Ups
Meanwhile, the flood of interest in Covered California caused wait times at the exchange's call centers to exceed 40 minutes and led to glitches on the exchange website (Seipel, San Jose Mercury News, 3/31).
In a release, the exchange said, "Website traffic caused the enrollment functionality to slow dramatically and to experience unplanned system outages periodically" on March 31 (Covered California release , 3/31).
In an effort to keep the website running smoothly, officials:
- Automatically logged some consumers out of the system once they created an account; and
- Took the "preview plans" function offline.
The exchange is allowing consumers who created an account by March 31 to choose a plan and complete their application by April 15.
Lee acknowledged that the changes are "not ideal," but he said the exchange was aiming "to make sure the people that want to enroll can get in the system" (Aliferis, "State of Health," KQED, 3/31).
For more information about Covered California's rule changes in response to the surge in enrollment, see today's Capitol Desk.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.