Trouble with the HealthCare.gov site appears to be so widespread that the Obama administration has opened the door for Americans to circumvent the site altogether.
Under a plan announced Friday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the government would allow people to deal directly with insurance companies instead of through the federally run exchange website. The move comes as the administration’s self-imposed Nov. 30 deadline for fixing the site is just days away, and officials acknowledge it may not be fully operational by then.
The pilot program announced by CMS would initially launch for residents in Ohio, Florida and Texas, and is the latest effort to give users an alternative to the troubled site.
“This is one more way we are working to offer consumers a variety of ways to enroll in affordable coverage,” agency spokeswomen Julie Bataille said in announcing the pilot project. “By strengthening the multiple channels to enroll in quality, affordable coverage … we are ensuring that every American who wants it can gain access to these new coverage options.”
Bataille said that direct enrollment has “been there from the start.” But the option was limited by the website problems, which have been fixed to the extent that insurance companies can now send applications to the site to assess enrollees’ eligibility for coverage and potential discounts on premiums, she said.
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