The Department of Health and Human Services has released a new, three-page application form for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, responding to mounting criticism over what was originally a 21-page application.
The new, five-step process is clear, concise, and simple to follow. Though applying for health insurance can be a convoluted process, I filled out the application in 5 minutes and 20 seconds.
Granted, as a young, single person with a solitary source of income and no dependents, I'm not the most complicated potential applicant.
But the form requires only basic information, even for more complicated situations. The most involved question entailed the amount of annual student loan interest, which was still easy to access from my taxes.
The earlier form required applicants to list deductions, relationship status, voluminous information about employers and other details.
Most of the effort in the new forms will be completed on the back-end by the exchange. All applicants have to do is provide basic information and a Social Security number, indicate which federal health care programs they're involved with, and list estimations of annual income.
Early reviews of the 21-page draft had called it "tedious" and "daunting," and Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said it looked like rollout of the law would be a "trainwreck." Shedding some of those labels might make it easier for the estimated 4.3 million Americans who will apply for assistance in the first year.
If implementation proceeds as planned, applicants can submit forms beginning on Oct. 1 and will start receiving benefits on Jan. 1, 2014.
Here's the main page of the form:
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