Oct 30, 2015, 5:00am EDT by Tina Reed - Staff Reporter Washington Business Journal
Small business owners and individuals trying to purchase health insurance through the District's state-based exchange should have a much easier time this enrollment season, D.C. Health Link officials said.
"Everything is going to be very different for employers and employees," Kofman said.
On the individual side: When enrollment opens Sunday, consumers will find the D.C. Health Link Plan Match tool where they can anonymously receive estimates on how much they'd pay out of pocket. "We were trying to figure out how can we be more helpful for consumers," Kofman said. "One of the criticisms [was], there were just too many choices."
Consumer Checkbook provides more regular checks of national databanks and feeds from insurance carriers to update directories, Kofman said. More critically, it also provides a loop back to alert insurance carriers when it finds out-of-date information, she said.
The tool is expected to become available for small businesses by the first quarter of 2016.
On the small business side: Kofman said the website is more nimble this enrollment season, with staff able to make quick changes and fixes as needed.
Based on broker and business feedback, the site has been simplified and it will be easier for employers to see their options based on how much they plan to contribute.
"We have a completely new approach to our user interface. It's called an agile approach," Kofman said. While the system was hard coded in the past — requiring the entire website to be taken down for any changes — the new open-source code is more flexible, Kofman said.
"Whether it was a small change or a glitch, we weren't able to make improvements quickly enough," Kofman said. That will be much different this year, she said.