On October 1, the Health Insurance Marketplace opened for business, but not without problems. As expected, the short deadline to get the website up and running has resulted in technical issues. If you’re uninsured or under-insured, you may be excited to get started on applying for affordable insurance, but you may want to wait until all the bugs are worked out and the application process flows more smoothly.
What’s the Issue?
When customers arrive at the HealthCare.gov website and choose their state, they are met with a screen that instructs them to keep the browser open so that they don’t lose their place in line. After a few minutes the applicant is redirected to the site where they can begin the application process. While the website is supposed to allow applicants to apply for insurance within 30 to 60 minutes, the overload of applicants is causing the process to take much longer. After each question, the screen will feature a spinning dial that notifies you that the next question is loading. This makes the process take much longer than expected.
How Long Can You Expect the Process to Take?
Depending on the time of day and number of applicants accessing the site, you may experience a 2 to 3 minute load time after each question. Those that want a speedier load time may want to access the website in the early morning hours or late at night. However, with around 80 million people needing to access the website it may be some time before the website runs without issue.
Should Applicants Wait to Apply?
You may want to log in and start the application immediately, but you have until early December to apply. Chances are most people are trying to apply during the month of October. If you don’t want to wait until the last minute, apply in mid to late-November. Most people will have already applied giving you a much faster load time so that you can fill out the application within the original estimated time of 30 to 60 minutes. To save even more time, be sure you have everything you need to apply, including Social Security numbers and birth dates for each applicant as well as pay stubs or W-2 forms.
Everyone knew there would be issues with the Health Insurance Marketplace in the beginning. There simply wasn’t enough time to get the website up and running and test it for bugs. Not to mention that there doesn’t seem to be enough server space to handle the large amount of applicants accessing the site. The good news is you can wait and fill out your application once the traffic has slowed down.
Edited to add: the technical difficulties since the time this post was originally written have increased and many people are not able to access the site at all. Perhaps if the government were not shut down, they could create a few healthitjobs and get the site up to par!