The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released revised, more user-friendly application forms for use by consumers who apply for policies to be sold through health insurance marketplaces. In a press release, HHS said that the application for individuals was reduced from 21 to three pages and the application for families was reduced in length by two-thirds, to 12 pages. In addition, the interactive online version of the application will shorten the application process based on individuals’ responses.

In the press release, CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said, “This is another step complete as we get ready for a consumer-friendly marketplace that will be open for business later this year.”

It was widely believed that the earlier version of the application was potentially intimidating and difficult to navigate, perhaps reducing the number of enrollees. Even the new, streamlined application process may be cumbersome for those applicants who may qualify for government subsidies; those applicants will need to provide detailed snapshots of their incomes from their tax returns and other financial records.