More technology experts are warning that glitches in the Obamacare system could take longer to iron out, as many remain unable to get beyond the earliest steps in the signup process.
The glitch-plagued Obamacare rollout might be just the beginning: A series of potential technology problems could thwart the Obama administration’s goal of getting 7 million people enrolled in the new exchanges by the end of March.
Millions of people have already encountered error messages, delays, crashes and stuck accounts. Technology experts and Obamacare backers worry that each step ahead in the process — filling out applications, checking on subsidies and selecting a health insurance plan — creates a potential technology choke point. And that doesn’t even count any additional chaos when people try to use their new health insurance come January.
“There is grave concern that many individuals who are intent on securing coverage by [Jan. 1] may not be able to do so by that date,” said consultant Dan Schuyler, who helped design a health insurance exchange in Utah and is now the senior technology expert at Leavitt Partners. “There’s a small window [the Department of Health and Human Services] has. If the problems persist another three or four weeks, those at the back of the line will not have coverage.”
Technical glitches also aren’t the only issues with which the Obamacare launch continues to struggle.
CNN revealed Friday that reports of users’ passwords requiring a reset was actually the result of customer service having been provided the wrong script.
If you contacted the federal Obamacare call center early Thursday morning, you may have been told that your password for Healthcare.gov needed to be reset. But that is not the case, officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services say.
Consumer passwords for the Obamacare website have not been reset, HHS officials say, but call center representatives were mistakenly given that incorrect information.
“A wrong script was provided to call center representatives,” one HHS official told CNN. “It’s been corrected. The wrong script was read for only a short time — just this morning.”
ArsTechnica, a technology new[s] and information website, first reported that people were being told to reset their passwords on Tuesday, October 8.
A second HHS official said enrollees can continue to use their current passwords.
I myself called into the call center days before Thursday and was also told to try resetting my password. Of course, that only sent my account deeper into the lost hole that I call Zombieland. While the system recognizes my Marketplace user name and sends a password reminder/reset to the correct email address associated to my Obamacare account, clicking on the link in the email only produces yet another error message at the website, telling me it cannot find the account.
It would seem that HHS is a bit confused as to what’s going on in its call center. (By the way, HHS, no, some of us can’t continue using our current passwords because THEY DON’T WORK).
Some supporters of Obamacare are also critical of the administration’s communication strategy on addressing some of the glitches. Here’s one of the latest, from Politico:
Washington and Lee University School of Law professor Tim Jost, a staunch Obamacare backer and a consumer advocate at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, said the rollout has been “very disappointing.” He says there’s still time to make fixes, but he faulted the White House for not offering up a tech expert on Oct. 1 to give the public a clear and complete account.
“You need to have someone honestly and forthrightly explain what the technical problems are and what it’s going to take to fix them,” Jost said. “The volume obviously is a factor. For the first day or two it worked — a week and a half later, it’s no longer an adequate explanation.”
I’ve said much the same in prior posts. All politics aside, unless the administration is honest and upfront about what all of the issues actually entail, they will never be able to adequately identify and address them.
While the administration claims that some of the issues have improved, and I don’t doubt that some have, there seem to be a great number of people who still haven’t even gotten past the account creation process yet to even look at the plans, let alone get into the plan signup process. That said, once more people have created accounts on the system and finally begun the signup process, there are most certainly going to be a number of issues that still haven’t even been discovered yet. Who knows how long it will take to get an accurate handle on identifying – and fixing – all of the issues.
Meanwhile, the clock ticks away on the individual mandate.DONATE
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