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Glitches thwarted, Healthcare.gov Alaska enrollment restarts

Laurel Andrews

Issues surrounding Healthcare.gov that led insurance brokerage Enroll Alaska to abandon the federal health care website last month have been corrected, chief operating officer Tyann Boling said on Tuesday.

Enroll Alaska will begin enrolling Alaskans on Healthcare.gov on Wednesday. “We actually enrolled somebody today,” Boling added.

Healthcare.gov is the portal for Alaska’s federally-facilitated health care marketplace, where Alaskans can apply for health insurance tax credits and compare health care plans side-by-side. 

Enroll Alaska stopped using Healthcare.gov in late October, after realizing that the federal subsidy calculator for Alaska was incorrect. The website was also riddled with glitches that made signing up virtually impossible for all but a handful of Alaskans.

The issues were the same across the United States. The White House promised that the site would be fixed by the end of November.

On Tuesday, the website was functioning “much, much better,” Boling said.

Alaska Sen. Mark Begich said Monday that he had successfully signed up for insurance on the marketplace. Begich decided to sign up on Alaska’s marketplace, forgoing the federal employer contribution that members of Congress are privy to on Washington D.C.’s exchange. He said that he wanted to experience the same process as Alaskans. 

"I didn't have any problems" enrolling, Begich said.

Begich said the plan he chose through Premera Blue Cross is similar to his current plan, with a slightly higher deductible. The price was “pretty comparable to what I would have paid last year by myself,” he said, although he didn’t name specifics. But he’s happy with the plan, noting in particular the preventive care coverage that’s provided under the new ACA laws.

He was told on Monday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that the online subsidy calculator had been fixed, but Enroll Alaska did not confirm the fact to Alaska Dispatch until Tuesday evening.

Contact Laurel Andrews at laurel(at)alaskadispatch.com. Follow her on Twitter @Laurel_Andrews