The insurance exchanges and .gov website that are at the center of the affordable care act have gotten a lot of bad press lately. Much of it deserved given how glitchy it still is after nearly 3 weeks.  But there is a nice big workaround that hardly anyone is talking about: going straight to the insurers.

The heathcare.gov website has been billed as the kayak.com for health insurance and I'm sure it will get there. But for many people who are purchasing insurance without subsidies, the site doesn't do anything that you can't easily do on your own. Once you know which insurers are offering plans in your state, which you can find here you are free to do all the comparison shopping you want. All of the insurer's websites I visited were very clear and easy to use. The enrollment process is essentially the same as healthcare.gov (same questions in the same order) but they dont have to be everything for everyone so it's more streamlined (and much less glitchy). The policies offered are identical.

Perhaps putting so much emphasis on the website wasn't a great move. The real healthcare reform is not by making another kayak. The real reform is changing the rules that the insurers have to follow and expanding the risk pool with the individual mandate. I've enrolled my family in a great plan that we never would have been able get previously and the website had nothing to do with it!

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