Access Health CT will be unavailable this weekend

Substantial portions of Access Health CTwill be unavailable Saturday through Tuesday while the Federal Social Security Administration and Veterans Administration performs annual systems maintenance activities.

Anyone who wants to have health care coverage begin on March 1 must ensure they complete their enrollment before the maintenance begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Maintenance is expected to be completed at 8 a.m. Tuesday.

Access Health CT relies on Social Security Administration and Veterans Administration data to verify identification and determine Advanced Premium Tax Credits, also known as subsidies. During times when this data is unavailable, Connecticut consumers cannot determine their eligibility for the tax credits or complete their enrollment into commercial insurance products.

"We are disappointed that federal maintenance procedures are being performed so close to the end of the open enrollment period," Kevin Counihan, chief executive officer of Access Health CT, said in a news release. "That being said, we understand that systems maintenance is a necessary process. For this reason, Connecticut will continue to explore ways to become less reliant on the federal hub in order to process applications from consumers who are eager to access quality, affordable healthcare coverage."

While site functionality is reduced during the maintenance period, there are a few actions consumers can continue to perform. These include:

• Creating accounts and shopping anonymously to compare plan benefits and pricing. However, consumers will be unable to complete their applications. Visitors to the site are advised to save their accounts and return to www.AccessHealthCT.com on or after Feb. 18 to pick a plan and complete enrollment for coverage beginning April 1.

• Those who apply for Medicaid coverage can still complete their application process on the website while the system maintenance activity is underway.

While Social Security Administration and Veterans Administration maintenance is performed, Access Health CT's storefront locations in New Haven and New Britain will be closed for the weekend, reopening Tuesday. Access Health CT's call center will remain open to handle consumer inquires at (855) 805-4325, but staff will not be able to enroll new customers. Access Health CT's enrollment fair events scheduled for Saturday in Waterbury and Enfield have been cancelled.

Consumers are reminded they have until March 31 to enroll in health care coverage through the exchange.

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