No. of Recommendations: 3
I understood the sign-up period was until April 1,2014 with the first day of the sign up being October 1st, 2014.

The open enrollment period runs up through March 31, 2014. That's the outside date for getting people on board for this policy year.

However, there are other, more "real world," deadlines. One them is fixed - December 15, 2013. That's when you have to have completed the application process in order to actually have insurance when the year starts on January 1, 2014. So for people who have received notices their insurance has been cancelled, they have to be able to enroll through the exchanges, or they'll face time without insurance.

The other deadline isn't specific....but as you and I have discussed before, the ACA needs to get a certain proportion of young healthy people to enter the exchanges to cover the costs of the older and already-sick. The Administration estimates they need about 40% of the pool to be healthy, low cost-of-coverage folks. These are the marginal consumers, who don't get quite the enormous deal that subsidized higher-cost consumers do. The longer the website is down, the more of those potential customers the exchange loses.

Healthy people will do what is in their economic best interest to do. That, for the first time in many of their lives is to shop for health insurance. They will find plans more expensive than the one they currently have and ones much less so. But sign up, glitches or no, they will.

I believe that's wishful thinking. These are mostly people that have failed to purchase insurance in the past...even though relatively low-cost catastrophic coverage was available. Many of the uninsured have little information about the exchanges, and little familiarity with insurance generally - and they're not necessarily going to sign up. To illustrate, consider that of the 36 million uninsured citizens prior to the health care law being adopted, about 11 million of them - nearly a third - were already eligible for free public insurance programs like Medicaid. But they never bothered to enroll:

Selling insurance to individual customers takes work. It will not happen automatically, and it won't happen just because it's a good deal (again, 11 million people not signing up for insurance that was free!). The Administration has already blown one of the great opportunities to sell that insurance - the free media blitz following the roll-out. It will be important that they get more people signed up.

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