One Month (Nearly) Down, Two to Go: How Is Open Enrollment Going So Far on the Ground?

By Molly Warren

“How is enrollment going on the ground?”

If you’re like us, you’ve been getting — and asking — that question a lot since the second open enrollment period (OE2) started nearly a month ago (time flies!).

We get regular reports from our grassroots organizing staff working in 11 states, and we coordinate with thousands of partner organizations working in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to get information on how things are going on the ground.

So here’s a quick update based on what we’ve been hearing —

In the first three weeks of this OE2, the overwhelming majority of the reports we have received from staff and partners who work on the ground have been positive. Staff and partners are building on what they learned during OE1 to improve consumers’ enrollment experiences and maximize enrollment (and retention). Outreach efforts and enrollment events are running efficiently, and there is heightened coordination among assisters. Furthermore, HealthCare.gov and state-based marketplaces that struggled with their technology last year are performing much better this time around. In particular, for those who can use it, the new, simplified application on HealthCare.gov has given consumers a quicker and more streamlined enrollment experience.

Even though there’s lots of good news, there’s always room for improvement. Here a couple issues we’ve seen to date:

  1. Immigrants and consumers without credit histories continue to have difficulty getting their identity verified automatically, and the manual process (uploading or mailing in copies of documents) is not working as smoothly as it could be. The Department of Health and Human Services is working hard to resolve these issues, and has fixed an early problem on HealthCare.gov that made it difficult to upload the appropriate documents. Consumers with questions about immigration documents can find information on this tip sheet that outlines accepted documents and links to images of the different documents and where to find the different numbers.
  1. Some marketplace enrollees who enrolled last year through HealthCare.gov are having trouble logging back into their account to shop for 2015 coverage. Sometimes consumers have simply forgotten their username or how to log in to the email address they used to set up their account. But there have also been delays in resetting enrollees’ passwords and unlocking accounts. HealthCare.gov gathered tips to help consumers with these issues.

For more marketplace updates and the latest tips on applying, along with the latest enrollment numbers and policy updates from around the country, check out our Week in Review.

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