Federal officials announced Wednesday that consumers shopping for insurance on HealthCare.gov will use an application that is roughly one-fourth as long as the complex questionnaire rolled out in 2013. The new questionnaire is 16 pages, while last year’s was 76.
The change will go into effect next month after completing extensive testing of the application by federal officials and contractors, which has been underway since July.
As many as 5 million people are expected to return tot the site and make changes to the coverage plans in which they enrolled last year, with millions more projected to sign up for new plans through the site. With the new-and-hopefully-improved system in place, 70 percent of people who have never bought coverage on HealthCare.gov are likely to go through an identity-verification portal and complete the new 16-page application. The identity-verification portal is still being tested.
A version of this new, shorter application was previewed to reporters on Wednesday, and it still requires consumers’ addresses, current income, and related details, but no longer spreads the questions across multiple pages.
Thirty percent of users will be diverted to the old system after the first few pages of the new application, primarily because of responses that appear to the system to be more complicated, such as the instance of applicants with children living in households in which they aren’t claimed as dependents on tax returns. Returning users will be able to access details of plans for which they enrolled last year.