With confidence growing in the ability of the online state insurance exchanges to be up and running in all 50 states when sign-up under the Affordable Care Act begins, the big question for the Obama administrative now rests on its biggest test of all: how many uninsured Americans will actually enroll?
Rebecca Pearce, the executive director of Maryland Health Connection, who oversaw the build-out of her state's online marketplace, is confident the exchanges will be ready on Oct. 1.
"People are going to flood our gates. They're going to want to know what this is about," she told her staff at a recent meeting to go over enrollment plans.
(Read more: Obamacare readiness going down to the wire)
The real challenge, she said, will come after that first flurry of curiosity—actually getting people to sign up for coverage, which won't start until Jan. 1.
"They may not buy right away," she explained to her staff. "I expect another spike in December, when people are actually coming back in and purchasing."
Relying on the brokers
Maryland's goal is to enroll at least 250,000 of the state's estimated 800,000 uninsured residents in the first year through the online marketplace. To reach its target numbers for enrollment, the state is reaching out to insurance brokers and agents for help.