Obamacare Starts In 56 Days: You Can Create An Online Healthcare Account Today, Even Though You Can’t Buy Yet

Kathleen Sebelius
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced Monday that consumers can go to healthcare.gov to create usernames and passwords in preparation for the Oct. 1 launch of Obamacare. Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced Monday that consumers will now be able to go online and create personal accounts before the October 1 launch of open enrollment in healthcare marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare."

In a sort of "we're still on target despite delays of key components of the Act" teleconference, Sebelius revealed that the consumers can create usernames and passwords on HealthCare.gov.

"What we're trying to do is ramp up the outreach and action items so we don't peak too soon," Sebelius said. "The goal, frankly, of having My Account launch in August is eight weeks from tomorrow is October 1. We want to put this in focus."

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But that doesn't mean you'll be able to shop and purchase the plan that you feel best fits your needs — not yet, at least. Sebelius pointed out that although individuals can create their online accounts and receive more information on the healthcare marketplaces, they will likely have to wait until next month to receive details about insurance plans and premiums.

"Let me be clear," she said. "We are on target and ready to flip the switch on Oct. 1."

The Secretary also said that the administration is working on allowing personal accounts to be created on the health department's Spanish-language site CuidadoDeSalud.gov. As of right now, only users on the English-speaking site can create personal accounts.

"Every step of the way there has been a delay in the Spanish language information, but they have gotten there," said Jennifer Ng'andu, health policy director for Latino civil rights group National Council of La Raza.

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In sum, the administration has a place online where you can peruse your healthcare options. Nothing is set in stone just yet. Insurers and the administration alike are still fine-tuning pricing and plan information. And, only users who speak English can create personal accounts for the time being.

"We know there's still work to do," Sebelius told reporters. "We knew all along that Washington couldn't do this alone. That was never the plan. The plan was to build a network in every state to help spread the word and make sure their communities are enrolled."

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