11/27/13, "Even if website works, Obamacare could see trouble ahead," uk.reuters.com, David Morgan
"The Obama administration says
it is on target to make its problematic health insurance website
work smoothly for the "vast majority" of users by this weekend,
but some Americans who want coverage by Jan. 1 may not be able
to get it - even if they successfully navigate the portal and
sign up for a plan.
The problem, according to insurance officials and
other specialists, is that the administration is behind schedule
in building a computer program needed to help insurers verify
the names, insurance plan choices and other details of those who
sign up for health coverage under the Patient Protection and
Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.
The computer program - which administration officials
acknowledge will not be finished until sometime next year - is
among several crucial pieces of administrative the
government is devising to serve new online healthcare
marketplaces that allow people to purchase subsidized private
health insurance or join the Medicaid program for the poor in
all 50 states.
The missing technology includes a computer program
sure government subsidies to help low-income enrollees pay for
coverage get to insurers.
The programs under construction are part of a complex
federal technology system that is crucial to the new health
system's goal of helping millions of uninsured and under-insured
Americans sign up for coverage through HealthCare.gov and other
Until the administrative computer programs are finished,
information about some Obamacare enrollees could be incomplete
or inaccurate by the time insurers receive it from the
exchanges, analysts said.
"This is a significant issue," said Dan Mendelson, a
healthcare specialist who worked in the White House Office of
Management and Budget during the Clinton administration.
"People could wind up going to the doctor or the hospital,
thinking they're enrolled, when they may not be," said one
insurance industry official, who asked not to be identified
because he did not want to comment publicly.
It is not clear how many people could be affected.
But in a system that could eventually have about 7 million
people enrolled for 2014, the potential for inaccurate
information spans the 36 states served by the federally run
HealthCare.gov and the 14 states with their own insurance
marketplaces, all of which rely on the same technology for
"If ... the ongoing back end challenges are still not
resolved, the enrollment process may not be completed and
consumers' coverage could be disrupted," said Robert Zirkelbach,
spokesman for America's Health Insurance Plans, an industry
trade and lobbying group.
Consumers "will forgive some start-up issues with the
ability to enroll on the website," said Gregory Nersessian,
principal with consulting firm Health Management Associates.
Nersessian said, however, that "it's going to be far more
damaging if their information and their expectation about
enrollment and payment and coverage get confused because of the
back end system."
Government officials acknowledge that completing the
computer program at the administrative end is necessary to
ensure accurate enrollment.
But in recent weeks they have focused more on fixing the
"front end" of Obamacare consumers see: the HealthCare.gov
website that allows people to enroll in the program.
Those wanting health coverage by Jan. 1
initially had until
Dec. 15 to enroll, but the website's problems led the
administration to extend that deadline to Dec. 23.
(Additional reporting by Lewis Krauskopf in New York; Editing
by David Lindsey, Grant McCool and David Brunnstrom)"
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Crucial ObamaCare computer program won't be finished until sometime in 2014, effects all exchanges, fed. and state run-Reuters UK
Posted by susan at 10:01 PM
Labels: Crucial ObamaCare computer program won't be ready until sometime in 2014, entire program is useless without it