CMS outlines Healthcare.gov upgrades, braces for ACA open enrollment bumps

With open enrollment less than a week away, federal officials offered more details about the new upgrades to Healthcare.gov--though they also confirmed that the rollout one of such feature will be delayed.

That feature, which promises to help consumers search for insurance plans that cover their prescription drugs and include their providers, is "coming soon," Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Communications Director Lori Lodes said, according to the Washington Post

As it has worked to implement and test the new feature, the government has run into trouble with its data; it claimed insurers didn't submit it correctly, and insurers say the government did not adequately test the tools. On Friday, the Department of Health and Human Services said it has a little more than half of the data from insurers that it needs, according to the Post.

In the meantime, Healthcare.gov will direct consumers to insurers' websites to obtain the information, notes the Wall Street Journal.

"Are there going to be bumps in this open enrollment? You bet," said Healthcare.gov CEO Kevin Counihan, according to the publication. "Are we going to fix the bumps? Absolutely."

Other upgrades to the federal marketplace this year include a new feature that allows consumers to estimate their out-of-pocket healthcare costs, fewer error messages, and pop-up reminders for consumers to enter information such as Social Security numbers, according to a fact sheet from CMS. Such reminders are vital given a recent government report that reveals errors within the government's systems that can lead to duplicate coverage and other issues. The site itself also will be 40 percent faster.

Further, in response to security concerns about Healthcare.gov, the site will also offer a new "Do Not Track" privacy management option that lets users opt out of any embedded third-party analytical tracker that could record their information.

To learn more:
- here's the CMS fact sheet
- read the Washington Post article
- here's the Wall Street Journal report

Related Articles:
Healthcare.gov upgrade aims to make it easier to compare health insurance plans by price
Last-minute bugs plague Healthcare.gov pre-enrollment tests
Healthcare.gov announces security upgrade
GAO: Errors plague Affordable Care Act eligibility decisions

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