East Coast THCB reader writes:
“Ok. Here’s my situation. I’ve tried signing up for coverage at Healthcare.gov several times without success. (I got a combination of the weird glitches and other symptoms other readers have reported. ) After the last fail, I decided to hold off on any further attempts on the theory that things are bound to get better.
Based on the news reports I’m seeing, that may or may not be happening. I’m starting to worry that if I wait too long I may get caught up in the mad rush as people scramble to beat the deadline. Given what’s happened so far, I’m not highly confident that Healthcare.gov will be working.
So here’s my question: am I better off waiting or should I try to push my application through the system now?”
From 27,000 enrollments in October to a reported 100,000 enrollments in November, the Affordable Care Act’s website is apparently working better and getting more people signed up.
But is it fixed well enough to handle the expected wave of at least many hundreds of thousands of people eager to get guarantee issue health insurance for the first time or replace a canceled policy by January 1?
Here are some of the press reports covering the December 1 HealthCare.gov relaunch:
- Reuters: “A surge of visitors clogged the U.S. government’s revamped healthcare insurance shopping website on Monday, signaling that President Barack Obama’s administration has a way to go in fixing the portal that showcases his signature domestic policy.”
- Bloomberg reporting on a navigator’s experience: “It’s still kind of glitchy. Now it just kicked me out. It went back to the front page. I’ve been here all afternoon and it’s been like that.”
- Miami Herald: Long waits, error messages, unresponsiveness. Hallmarks of the troubled launch of the Health Insurance Marketplace at healthcare.gov continued to stymie South Florida residents and counselors trying to access the website on Monday––more than two months after the October 1 launch, and despite the government’s self-imposed deadline of Nov. 30 for the system to function smoothly for the ‘vast majority of Americans.”
- Los Angles Times: “The Obama administration’s overhauled healthcare website got off to a bumpy relaunch Monday as a rush of consumers caused an uptick in errors and forced the administration to put thousands of shoppers on the HealthCare.gov site on hold.
- Ezra Klein, Washington Post: “Of course, that means the site still suffers a disastrous outage rate.” And, “We have no idea whether the 200 fixes left on the list are really important ones, or really difficult ones. The repair job is likely proceeding quickly enough to protect Obamacare from the most severe threat to its launch: Democrat-backed legislation unwinding the individual mandate or other crucial portions of the law.
And then there is the backroom. The administration apparently decided that it was more important to fix the front-end of the system before the back-end was fixed. Do they think that big customer service issues come January, if the “834” back-end enrollment problems are not fixed by then, will be blamed on the insurance industry and not the administration?
- Associated Press: “Private insurers complain that much of the enrollment information they’ve gotten on individual consumers is practically useless. It is corrupted by errors, duplication or garbles. Efforts to fix the underlying problems are underway, but the industry isn’t happy with the progress and is growing increasingly concerned.”
As I have said before, the Obama administration is likely in the midst of a four month project to properly fix and test this system. It will likely be at least late January or early February before not just HealthCare.gov but the other key information systems supporting the new law are built and repaired to just minimal standards.