The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today released the revised forms that people will use to apply for health coverage through the new health insurance marketplaces (also known as exchanges). These relatively short, easy-to-understand applications are a big improvement over the drafts that HHS released for comment in January.
Applications will be consumers’ first stop to getting the coverage they’ll qualify for, so it’s important that they’re well-designed and simple.
Single adults who are not offered health coverage at work will have the easiest option — a new “short form” that offers a streamlined route to health coverage, similar to the 1040EZ for taxes. This application will make it easier for the millions of uninsured, single adults without children who meet the income eligibility standards to get help paying for coverage through the marketplaces or Medicaid.
The revised forms incorporate many of the suggestions that we and other organizations provided to improve the draft applications. The questions and instructions are clearer, unnecessary questions have been dropped, and the overall design should be easier for consumers to follow.
The marketplaces will begin accepting applications on October 1, 2013.