- The Affordable Care Act's second enrollment period began Saturday, Nov. 15, and had a lot to prove, with memories of last year's flawed technological launch of Healthcare.gov top of mind. 100,000 Americans signed up for coverage on Saturday, with many qualifying for federal subsidies that kept their premiums under $100 a month.
- "The vast majority of people coming to the site were able to get on and do what they were intending to do," Health and Human Services Secretary Sylva Burwell said Sunday. A total of 500,000 people signed onto the website in its first day.
- Speaking after midterm elections when Republicans regained Congress, President Obama said the Americans who "sat on the sidelines, in part because of our screw-ups on Healthcare.gov" now have the opportunity to partake in a working system that got a makeover after lessons learned from early failures last year.
Reviews of Obamacare 2.0 have been pretty positive so far, even by former naysayers and skeptics, so it's fair to say the health IT team running the show should be applauded. Visually, Healthcare.gov looks different. But more importantly, the application is much shorter, condensed from 76 screens of individual questions to just 16, with sets of questions on each page to cut down on load numbers. The made-over Healthcare.gov is cosmetically pleasing, better equipped to handle high volumes of traffic and comes with lots of user-friendly features. Among them: a window shopping option that allowed consumers to see what plans would be available in their area, so they could compare price, benefits and physician and hospital networks before the open enrollment period started on November 15. While the updated version of Healthcare.gov won't guarantee that everyone will find their health insurance options truly affordable, it's certainly a step in the right direction.