The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a statement this morning that the application for public health insurance, reported in March to be 21 pages long for individuals, has been shorted to just three pages. The application for families has been reduced by “two-thirds.”

 “Consumers will have a simple, easy-to-understand way to apply for health coverage later this year,” said CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner in a statement today. “This is another step complete as we get ready for a consumer-friendly marketplace that will be open for business later this year.”

CMS says “the consumer friendly forms are much short than industry standards for health insurance applications today.” The forms will be ready for people to begin filling out on October 1, the first day of open enrollment for 2014. The forms can be found here.

The length of the 21-page application was criticized openly by many in the industry, including the crowd of National Association of Health Underwriters’ members at their lobbying conference in February.

Recent Kaiser Family Foundation polling shows that consumers continue to lack awareness of how the Affordable Care Act will affect them. Up to two-thirds of the uninsured still say they don’t know what the ACA will mean for them.

CMS has repeatedly said in recent weeks that brokers will play a crucial role in consumer assistance and education about the public exchanges for the uninsured and what ACA might mean for all Americans. CMS has said that broker training information will be available “soon” and must be complete by August.

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