to offer simpler sign-up process, shorter application

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services overhauled the federal health insurance exchange website by creating a shorter application form, enabling a simpler enrollment process for consumers, reported the New York Times.

The new application has fewer pages, questions and screens to navigate, which means insurers will see an even higher enrollment boost as fewer consumers have trouble with the sign-up process. That's particularly good news given that some predict the upcoming exchange enrollment period will be more difficult than last year due to potential double-digit rate hikes and a shorter enrollment time frame, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

"The streamlined application will allow people to get through the process a lot faster," Andrew Slavitt, the principal deputy administrator at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, told the NYT.

The new application is available only for consumers who haven't already signed up on and don't have any complicated household situations, such as family members living at separate addresses or children who live at the address but aren't included on the federal income tax return.

"We expect about 70 percent of applicants to use the shorter, updated application," HHS officials said. "The remaining 30 percent, who have more complicated household scenarios, will use the traditional marketplace application."

HHS officials also added that the overhauled will have "a new look and feel" and will provide "a shorter, smoother, simpler user experience," the NYT noted.

The revamped website and new application was well received among some industry experts. "This is something we've been seeking for quite a while--a procedure that allows people to jump the queue and get through the system faster if their case is neat and simple," Jessica Waltman, a senior vice president of the National Association of Health Underwriters, told the NYT.

To learn more:
- read the NYT article