How the Health Insurance Marketplace at healthcare.gov has fared since its rocky start in October 2013. (Image source: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Passed by President Obama on March 23, 2011, Healthcare.gov is a provision of the widely talked about Affordable Care Act. At the time it was signed, it was declared “ the most expansive social legislation enacted in decades.”
The purpose of Healthcare.gov is to provide health coverage to individuals, families and small businesses that have not acquired health insurance. The public website allows users to choose an insurance plan from a competitive marketplace. One of the changes to health insurance enacted by the Affordable Care Act is that health insurance providers are now restricted from denying coverage to children 19 years and younger that have a pre-existing condition. Young adults are allowed to remain on their parent’s health insurance plan until 26 as constituted by the Affordable Care Act. Individuals also now have the right to appeal any denial or termination of coverage by their insurance providers.
Oct. 1, 2013 was the first day that the health insurance exchange website Healthcare.gov was open to the public. It was estimated that 1 million people would purchase insurance the first day the website was open. Shortly after midnight on Oct. 1, the website crashed as thousands of individuals flooded it to begin the insurance process. Only six people were able to navigate the website and purchase health insurance on that day. “Widespread technical problems” plagued the website’s unveiling. Experts in the technology field were sought out to help solve the problems.
Dec. 2013, the Department of Health and Human Services released a progress and performance update of the healthcare rollout to that point. According to the report, the response time of the website was had increased to run under one second, more than 400 bugs were fixed, software improvements made and the website could now support 50,000 users at a time. President Obama announced Dec. 20, 2013 press conference that more than half a million users had signed up for health coverage in the first three weeks of December alone.
Healthcare.gov open enrollment for 2015 for individuals and families begins on Nov. 15 and ends Feb. 15, 2015. Eligibility for an insurance plan through the health insurance marketplace depends on income and household size. Open enrollment is for those that either have coverage through Healthcare.gov originally or are looking to enroll in coverage. Those that have not enrolled before this point must pay a fee of either 2% of his or her income or $325 per adult or $162.50 per child.