Yesterday, the Obama administration unveiled Healthcare.gov 2.0, a new and improved version of the site that was plagued with so many technical difficulties last year. The biggest improvement, which remains to be seen, is a promise by the administration that the site won’t crash like it did last year. The more visible improvement is that the screening process is reduced from 76 to 16 steps.
For brokers, this is good news and bad news. It’s good news because of the fact that even brokers who use one of the other methods for enrolling individuals in ACA-qualified and subsidy-eligible coverage, like enrolling people through the carrier’s website or using a more efficient private exchange site, depend on Healthcare.gov working properly since the subsidy portion of the application does run through the government’s website on the back end. So the streamlined app and reduced downtime will certainly be welcomed.
The bad news – and this is something we’ve commented on in the past – is that the more user-friendly the government makes the website, and the more media coverage the improvements get, the greater the chance that consumers will use the site to shop for health insurance and circumvent the broker altogether. That’s why it’s very important for brokers, whether you specialize in individual health or just want to have a backup plan in case your group clients decide to drop their coverage, to have your own enrollment solution that’s better than the government’s option.