Feds Grant Short Special Enrollment Period for Some Consumers
A rush of consumers overwhelmed the federal enrollment call center's capacity on Monday, leaving some U.S. residents unable to enroll in federal exchange coverage ahead of Tuesday's deadline to sign up for health plans effective Jan. 1, 2016, the New York Times reports (Pear, New York Times, 12/14).
Some consumers who contacted the call center were asked to leave their information so their calls could be returned and they could be enrolled in exchange coverage at a later date (O'Donnell, USA Today, 12/14). Federal officials said such individuals would be granted a short special enrollment period that would allow them to sign up after Dec. 15 for coverage effective Jan. 1.
Meanwhile, acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt said HealthCare.gov saw "record traffic" on Monday, experiencing a high of 178,000 individuals using the site at one time (New York Times, 12/14).
CMS spokesperson Lori Lodes said, "More people are simultaneously shopping right now at HealthCare.gov than at any point this year or last year -- and traffic continues to grow" (USA Today, 12/14). She added, "We are seeing unprecedented demand."
Milwaukee Leads Enrollment Challenge
Meanwhile, federal officials on Monday announced that Milwaukee is leading the administration's 20-city enrollment competition, the Times reports (New York Times, 12/14).
HHS unveiled the competition last month. The agency said it would compare the number of uninsured residents eligible for exchange coverage in participating cities at the start of the ACA's third open enrollment period with the number of new exchange enrollees at the end of the open enrollment period. The city that enrolls the highest percentage of uninsured residents will win the challenge.
President Obama will visit the winning city. The winner will be posted after the open enrollment period ends (California Healthline, 11/10).
States in order from second to sixth place in the competition are:
- Charlotte; and
Cities rounding out the top 10, in no particular order, include:
- Salt Lake City; and
- Tampa (New York Times, 12/14).