Tonight I spent a few minutes applying for insurance on HealthCare.gov so I could get see the process and options first hand.
As someone who's been developing websites for over 10 years, my first impression was that the site is fairly well designed. The front end was created by a Washington, DC based company named Development Seed. The back end was created by a CGI Group Inc subsidiary, CGI Federal. Not only was CGI Federal the prime contractor for the exchange website, but it received $88 million for it's services. Good work if you can get it!
I was afraid I'd have to answer hundreds of questions, but the application process was very concise and took under 20 minutes. I cannot speak to the application process as it pertains to financial aid as I selected the option to apply without aid.
Since I work as an independent consultant I retain private health insurance which costs me $164/month for a high deductible plan that really only covers catastrophic illness. According to a good friend who works in the insurance industry, it was among the least expensive plans available for someone in my demographic.
This is only my personal experience and is in no way a definitive assessment of the Affordable Care Act or HealthCare.gov, but hopefully my experience will provide insight to others.
If you have any comments or questions, please post them below or contact me on twitter (@gainesk).