One congressional group doesn't want to wait for HealthCare.gov to get it together.
Nine Democratic senators want federal officials to allow insurers and Web insurance brokers to enroll people directly in all forms of Obamacare coverage without having to interact with the HealthCare.gov marketplace.
In two letters sent to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the senators say the move would be "an effective interim solution for enrolling consumers" while a tech team continues working to fix the website, which has seen severely disappointing numbers since its Oct. 1 launch.
"We ask that you prioritize a path to fixing the direct-enrollment process through insurance carriers and allowing enrollment through Web-based entities (WBEs) as options for consumers who are shopping for health insurance coverage," eight of the senators wrote. "We believe it is appropriate for consumers to have multiple enrollment channels in order to maximize choice and make enrollment as convenient as possible."
The request is significant because it appears to ask Sebelius to do something HHS has long refused: allow insurers and Web brokers to let customers "determine their eligibility for tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies" to offset the costs of their Obamacare plan without going through HealthCare.gov.