New Obamacare Numbers Out, Year Two Smoother in Del. and Md. - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

New Obamacare Numbers Out, Year Two Smoother in Del. and Md.

DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - Take two. Obamacare enrollment is a month-and-a-half into its second year.

Chris Casazza is a marketplace guide in Delaware. He helps people through the sign-up process. And he says year two has been smoother than year one.

The number one reason for that, according to Casazza, is the national enrollment website is much better than it was - less glitchy and less complicated.

"Instead of panic and different levels of people being upset or not getting the help or answers they need, they're more readily able to navigate," he said.

There were 76 pages to go through to sign up in year one. That number was slashed to 16 for year two.

"Because the website itself has been streamlined and the application now is much simpler than it was a year ago, many people may not even be coming to a marketplace guide to get that level of assistance," said Sec. Rita Landgraf, head of the state Department of Health and Social Services.

The federal government reports a shade under 9,000 Delawareans signed up for coverage during the first month of year two enrollment. A little more than half of those people were brand new enrollees. The rest were re-enrollments.

If the national website was a mess in for part of 2014 enrollment, the Maryland state exchange was a disaster for basically all of it. Things appear to be going much better this time around. The feds say almost 51,000 people in Maryland signed up for a 20-15 qualified health plan. The data does not show how many were enrolling for the first time.

The report adds nationwide more than four million people signed up or re-enrolled during the first month of open enrollment. That number does not include the people who were automatically enrolled in mid-December.

"HHS also released a Weekly Enrollment Snapshot that captures more recent enrollment activity in the Marketplace," Del. DHSS pointed out in a news release. "The Weekly Snapshot shows that from November 15 to December 26, nearly 6.5 million consumers selected a plan or were automatically re-enrolled."

Sec. Landgraf is encouraged by what she's seen in year two.

"We actually thought the second year might be more difficult. I'm thinking it's just the opposite."

Only time will tell if the enrollment totals will bear that out.

The second year of enrollment ends Feb. 15. The penalty for not having insurance goes up in 2015. You can calculate the penalty you could face here.

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