Visitors to the glitch-plagued HealthCare.gov site now can bypass the temperamental application interface and compare plans anonymously, as some of the state-run exchanges previously made possible. HHS added the feature after 10 days marked by system outages and lengthy wait times. And it actually works. The new tool allows users to enter some basic information—state and county of residence, number and age of people seeking coverage—and see which plans are available to them. For instance, a single adult, under 49 years of age, living in Cook County, Ill., can choose among 71 health plans with monthly premiums ranging from $124.84 for a bronze-level plan to $375.31 for a platinum-level plan. A family in Choctaw County, Miss., on the other hand, will have a choice of six plans, ranging in cost from $684.10 per month for a catastrophic plan to $1,187.30 for a gold-level plan. The site prominently notes that the window-shopping prices don't take into account the impact of federal tax credits on monthly premiums, and it provides a link to a calculator that can help consumers determine if they are eligible for a subsidy. But they have to actually go through the application process to learn exactly what they would pay. Federal officials hope the feature will divert some traffic from the application pages and ease the logjam that has hampered enrollment on the site.
Late News: HealthCare.gov adds anonymous plan comparison feature
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