Everyone’s familiar with the often repeated phrase by the Obama administration and all of its sycophants that buying health insurance on the exchange is going to be as easy as buying an airline ticket on Orbitz. One thing Kathleen Sebelius has proved with the rollout of the ObamaCare exchange, healthcare.gov, is that it’s not as easy as buying an airline ticket.
While the website is much improved today over where it was on November 1, it still does not function as it should. For example: you can now obtain your subsidy information and go to the exchange and pick out a policy. Unfortunately, all of our clients that we have done this for have experienced one of two outcomes: either the carrier whose policy they picked was never notified of the transaction or, if they were notified of the transaction, the policy selected by our client was not the one submitted by Health and Human Services to the carrier.
Obviously, this last part of the exchange is critical in terms of making it work since clients can’t function without their member id card from the issued policy and carriers can’t get paid unless proper information is transmitted to them. In short, healthcare.gov is still one big damn mess.
However, the good news is that today the federal government extended the sign-up deadline to December 23for January 1 effective policies if you sign up between now and then. But I’m not sure it really matters since completing the circle by issuing the correct policy to the applicant is not happening.
It will be interesting to see how the national media deals with this issue in January when people who have gone to the exchange and think they have purchased a policy start having medical claims and there is no policy or record of the policy with the carrier to pay for those claims.
Undoubtedly, the Obama administration and Kathleen Sebelius will try to point the finger at the carriers and place the blame with them; however, given the failures of the website, I doubt those accusations will stick.
My advice to anyone thinking of purchasing health insurance through the exchange: find an exchange certified broker who can take you through the process and who can eliminate much of the pain you will experience if you try to do this on your own.
It’s important to remember that IT COSTS YOU NO MORE TO USE A BROKER TO PURCHASE YOUR POLICY ON THE EXCHANGE VERSUS TRYING TO DO IT ON YOUR OWN. But it could make a huge difference to you down the road if you have a claims and provider issue and have no one to be your advocate.
If you’re looking for a broker in your area, you can go to the National Association of Health Underwriters website, www.NAHU.org, and click on the Find An Agent link to find a NAHU certified, exchange certified broker in your area who can be your competent and professional advisor.
America’s Healthcare Advocate
NAHU Newswire December 6, 2013
Some HealthCare.gov Users May Find Out Enrollment Did Not Go Through.
The Huffington Post (12/6, Young) reports “unresolved technical problems on HealthCare.gov could lead to a rude surprise” next month for those “who think they successfully used the website” to get healthcare coverage. While the site “has improved,” insurance companies “are still getting information on their would-be customers that is garbled and incomplete, and in some cases they are getting no information at all,” which means some users may not actually have succeeded in getting insurance.
Politico (12/6, Cheney) says the “much-improved” site “has moved largely beyond blank screens and bugs that consumers encountered, but the worry now centers on the gaping holes in the system’s back end. That can interfere with how insurance companies actually enroll people and get paid.”
Rep. Rogers Calls For Healthcare.gov Shutdown To Fix Security Issues. The Washington Times (12/6) reports in its “Inside Politics” blog that on Thursday, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that “the HealthCare.gov website should be shut down and properly tested to ensure that Obama consumers are protected from potential security risks from across the globe.” Rogers said, “This site doesn’t even function, No. 1, and we know it has never been end-to-end stress tested in a way that the industry would accept anything online. That’s my concern.”
The Hill (12/6) reports in its “Healthwatch” blog that Rogers said, “What I would do is shut it down, get it functioning, and then bring in these independent security folks so that you’re not putting at risk millions of millions of Americans’ private and personal information.”
States Receiving Incomplete Medicaid Data From Federal Website. The AP (12/6, Adcox) reports that while some people “may be informed they’re eligible for Medicaid and that their information is being sent to state officials to sign them up,” states are saying that they are “receiving incomplete data from the Obama administration.” Last week, in a memo to the 36 states using the Federal website, CMS acknowledged that “the information wasn’t being transferred automatically and” explained that “another system was being developed to send it.” Meanwhile, this technical issue could impact “tens of thousands of Medicaid applicants and represents the latest issue to arise in the rollout of a website that’s been plagued with long waits for users and other glitches.”
The Waterville (ME) Morning Sentinel (12/6, Lawlor) reports that on Thursday, Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) criticized HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebleius “for computer snafus related to the rollout of www. HealthCare.gov that could prevent some people from receiving MaineCare in 2014.” The piece notes that “the problem involves residents who used the federally run HealthCare.gov website to sign up for insurance coverage and learned that they qualify for Medicaid.” While they “were supposed to be automatically enrolled in Maine- Care…computer problems prevented states from being notified of the enrollments, leaving the residents in a bureaucratic limbo.”