Within seconds of submitting the application online, Fleischer-Gann received a notice that she was approved for a subsidy and that she could start comparing more than a dozen plans. She chose a Highmark policy that will cost her $293 a month after the subsidy, slightly more than she pays now. But the new plan has richer benefits and lower out-of-pocket costs.
“I am so relieved,” she said, adding that she had been receiving coverage through a special high-risk pool created under the health law, which expires in December.
Gina Holub, 47, of Richboro, Pa., said healthcare.gov also worked for her Sunday, after her application had been hung up since October. “I figured I would give it another try, given that they said the fixes would be done by end of November,” said Holub, a freelance market research analyst.
It took her 15 minutes to complete a new application and another 45 minutes to choose a plan from Independence Blue Cross, which includes dental coverage — and she will pay $750 a year less than she does now. Her old insurer was canceling her policy as of Jan. 1. “It’s so exciting to get better insurance at a lower price,” she said.
Both Holub and Fleisher-Gann noted how the improved healthcare.gov makes it easier to compare plans’ prices and benefits. Consumers can sort plans by price, total out-of-pocket costs and the name of the insurer. Users can click one button to learn what doctors and hospitals are in each plan and click another to determine which prescription drugs are covered and at what price. The co-pays for primary care and specialist physicians, as well as for generic drugs, are also easy to find, they said.
“Never underestimate the power of the Hanukkah Miracle,” said Jodi Ray, project director for Florida Covering Kids & Families, the largest group of navigators in south Florida who are helping people enroll in coverage. Ray said she has done several applications since Sunday and “zoomed right through the process.” Hanukkah, the eight-night Jewish holiday of lights, started last Wednesday night.
Mon, Dec 02 2013