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ObamacareAs of today, is open for business.  Almost.

The Obama administration announced that patients can begin Monday to shop and compare costs for health coverage in preparation for Open Enrollment, which begins November 15.

“We are strongly encouraging our customers to return to, update their income and eligibility information, shop and compare and see if there are better values out there for them,” Kevin J. Counihan, the chief executive of told the New York Times. “A majority of our customers will be able to save money by shopping and comparing.”

Logging on the federal exchange website prior to Open Enrollment will bring patients to a plan preview and price estimator tool, which are intended to provide more information ahead of the expected rush of new enrollees.

The government is trying to avoid the complications that came with the first year of’s rollout.  According to the NY Times, more than 1,000 additional customer service representatives have been hired to assist with the upcoming enrollment period, bringing the total to 14,000 reps.

The administration has also prepared for new technology as it anticipates 25-30 percent of new applicants will be using mobile technology like iPads to access

-Alan Lyndon

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