The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has beentesting a new version of the HealthCare.gov applicationprocess on some would-be health insurance buyers over thesummer.

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The HealthCare.gov system has been offering the revisedapplication process more frequently, on a random basis, this month,and site managers hope to make the approach the standardapplication process Nov. 15, when the 2015 open enrollment periodis set to start.

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For now, the consumers using the system are those who have gonethrough coverage changes or life changes that give them accessto special enrollment periods (SEPs).

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Officials at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services(CMS), the HHS agency in charge of managing the PPACA exchanges instates with HHS-run exchanges, described the update in a bulletinaimed at the people who help consumers use the exchanges.

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Consumers who want to create a HealthCare.gov account cancomplete a form that takes up just one screen, rather than three.Once a consumer begins applying for coverage, the consumer muststart by giving information about matters such as marital statusand number of dependents to be insured.

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The new system uses another page of preliminary questions toguide users with simple situations to a short application processand other users to a longer process, officials say. Consumers whoare not eligible for financial assistance, for example, do not seeany questions about eligibility for Medicaid.

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CMS is hoping about 70 percent of exchange users will be able touse the short-form process.

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An application summary page gives users the ability to reviewthe information they have entered and check it for accuracy.

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Allison Bell

Allison Bell, ThinkAdvisor's insurance editor, previously was LifeHealthPro's health insurance editor. She has a bachelor's degree in economics from Washington University in St. Louis and a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @Think_Allison.