Healthcare.gov significantly more efficient, says CEO

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March 13, 2015

The Affordable Care Act is working, says Healthcare.gov CEO Kevin Counihan. And he has a plethora of statistics to prove it.

About 11.7 million people have either re-enrolled or signed up for health insurance for the first time thanks to the ACA — 8.8 million via the federal exchange and 2.9 million on the state exchanges, Counihan Thursday said at America’s Health Insurance Plans’ health insurance exchanges forum in Washington, D.C. There are 10 million fewer uninsured people than in 2013, he said.

Also see: Healthcare.gov CEO: Brokers are ‘integral’ in post-ACA world

The number of qualified health plans per county increased 29%, Counihan said, and every county in FFM states had access to coverage. “There was not one county in America where there was not an offer,” he said.

The user experience on Healthcare.gov was significantly more efficient in year two, Counihan said. The average number of screens a person had to click through while enrolling dropped from 76 to 16. “It’s a site now that people can navigate and enroll in 30 minutes,” he said.

And they flocked to it. More than 32.5 million visitors came to Healthcare.gov — 1.86 million visited in one day alone — during open enrollment, a period in which the call center answered 15.8 million calls, Counihan said.

Smartphones being used to buy health insurance 
For most Americans, their cellphone is an essential tool for daily life — that’s also true of signing up for health insurance. Thirty-five percent of visitors came to Healthcare.gov on a smartphone or tablet and 15% enrolled using one of those devices, Counihan said. Of those who visited CuidadodeSalud.gov, the Spanish website, 60% of visitors used a tablet or smartphone. “Clearly, mobile’s the way,” Counihan said. “All of us in this room need to conform to [the] times.”

Thanks to an influx of insurers, which grew by 25%, consumers had an average of 40 plans to choose from, Counihan said. “We see ourselves as a free-market, pro-competition marketplace,” he said. “We want to be pro-consumer.”

Of those who purchased a plan through Healthcare.gov, 7.7 million, or 87%, qualified for an average tax credit of $263 per month. With that financial assistance, more than half (55%) paid $100 or less per month for health insurance. Insurers made providing reasonably priced plans possible, Counihan said. “We’ve made great progress working through you in terms of making these plans more affordable,” he said.

Also see: Burwell: Insurance industry’s ‘expertise is critical’

Overall, implementing the ACA has been going well, Counihan said, and he will count on the continued help from insurers to work through the complexities that remain. “We absolutely need all of your help to do that,” he said.

“We’re doing everything that we can to try to make this better,” Counihan added. “We’ve got some years to go.”

The process will continue to be streamlined in future years, Counihan said, and credited his staff as a major reason. “These are just smart, hardworking people out to do the right thing,” he said. “Very mission-driven. I learn from them all the time. 

“I just feel very lucky to be on the team that I’m on.”

2 Comments

Here, here! Frances R. Very well said.

Posted by: Alice S | March 16, 2015 12:15 PM

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It is delusional to see the government site as free market because it is not in any way or form free market. It is actually leaning towards fascism, i.e, a nominal private business in partnership and subservient to government. Fascism is incompatible with freedom or liberty. Tax credits are in essence welfare transfers since taxpayers pay for this entitlement program whether they want to do so or not. And always remember having health insurance does not guarantee health services-Medicaid is what most Obamacare enrollees have and that is a poor program for those it is designed to serve. The only way you will have excellent medical services, innovation, and lower costs is to have real competition for consumer dollars via a true free market, not some price supported bloated bureaucracy filled with self serving bureaucrats.

Posted by: Frances R | March 13, 2015 11:42 AM

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