The next ACA open-enrollment period is just a little more than a month away. The Health and Human Services Department told outside enrollment organizations that it's planning some relatively significant downtime for HealthCare.gov during the enrollment window.
- Enrollment begins Nov. 1. HHS has scheduled downtime for the site that night, and then every Sunday but one, from midnight to noon.
Context: There's some downtime in every open-enrollment period, and HHS said it scheduled this year's site maintenance for the times HealthCare.gov gets the least traffic. These windows are also maximums, a department spokesperson said — the actual downtime could be shorter.
Yes, but: The Trump administration has already taken several additional steps that will likely limit the number of people who sign up. It has:
- Shortened the enrollment period from three months to six weeks (a change insurers wanted, hoping it would tilt the market toward healthier consumers).
- Slashed funding for both advertising and grants to in-person enrollment organizations.
- Plus, insurers have said they're raising their premiums significantly because of President Trump's continued unwillingness to commit to paying out the law's cost-sharing subsidies.
What we're watching: This is a lot of time for site maintenance. Will it be enough to prevent unplanned outages at times of high traffic — which tend to come around the sign-up deadline?