The last-minute push to purchase health insurance tested Connecticut’s successful online marketplace Monday.
As of Sunday night, 191,961 people had signed up for coverage and about 74,000 of those enrolled with one of the three private carriers. About 118,000 enrolled in Medicaid.
With the approach of the deadline, Access Health CT officials noted a surge in visits to the site, including moments where Google Analytics real time data showed more than 1,300 people on the site simultaneously. The data was displayed on a screen in the background during a press conference Monday afternoon with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman.
Access Health CT CEO Kevin Counihan said site visits were peaking higher than they had during the lead up to the Dec. 23 coverage deadline.
But technology isn’t always perfect and the state exchange still has to rely during parts of the enrollment process on federal databases in order to verify information.
“Between problems with the Federal Data Service Hub, and the surge in demand here in Connecticut, some people are having difficulty getting through to us,” Counihan said Monday.
However, because the goal is to get people insured, Counihan suggested they call 1-855-805-4325 and leave their name, address, and phone number so they can complete the enrollment in the next few days.
The two storefronts in New Britain and New Haven were packed with customers and customer service reps had already answered 10,000 phone calls by 5 p.m. Monday.
Wyman said everyone who was still in line at the stores at midnight would be able to receive coverage.
“It’s just a lot more volume than we expected,” Counihan said. “But you know what? We’re going to work it through. Our job is to get people insured and get them covered and we’re going to get it done.”
Counihan was an executive with the Massachusetts Connector, which paved the way for state-based insurance exchanges and the Affordable Care Act. He’s one of nine chief executive officers of the 14 state-based exchanges still standing and is credited with outsourcing some of the more complicated functions of the exchange to outside vendors.
In fact, Connecticut’s exchange has been so successful, Maryland will consider Tuesday whether it wants to use the software system employed by Connecticut’s exchange.