California exchange reports nearly 100K application starts

By BenefitsPro


By Allison Bell

Some state exchange officials are reporting "strong consumer interest" in their exchanges under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. And they've released numbers as proof.

Managers of Covered California said consumers started a total of 94,500 applications on their system from Oct. 1 and Oct. 12 and made a total of 1.5 million unique visits to the exchange website.

Over the same period, the California exchange call centers handled about 100,000 telephone calls.

Call volume fell to 45,785 from Oct. 6 through Oct. 12 — the second full business week of operation — down from 59,003 the week before.

The average caller wait time fell to about 2 minutes, from roughly 15 minutes.

Some agents had complained that the exchange was slow to complete the agent certification process. The exchange said the number of agents actually certified had increased to about 1,300 by Oct. 12; another 3,382 certifications are still in progress.

Nevada's Silver State Health Insurance Exchange also posted performance data for the period from Oct. 1 through Oct. 8, and the Washington Health Benefit Exchange posted a discussion of lessons it learned from the crashes it experienced when its site went live.

In Nevada, exchange managers said users created 21,884 accounts between Oct. 1 and 4 p.m. Oct. 8, started or submitted 5,924 Medicaid and premium tax credit eligibility applications, and submitted 703 plan applications. The plan applications seek coverage for a total of 806 people.

The Nevada exchange is working with 1,650 brokers.

Meanwhile, in Washington state, officials acknowledged at a "go live" report Tuesday that their enrollment system went down at 7:30 a.m. on launch day. The governor held a press event at 10 a.m.

The exchange team got the site working from end to end by Thursday, officials said.

Officials said they learned that they had a hard time replicating the real world environment in testing. They said they want to do a better job of communicating with stakeholders and business partners about problems, and especially with reporting system performance information to the insurers selling plans through the exchange website.

Originally published on BenefitsPro.com