Obamacare website better but still needs work
The government's health care portal stumbled badly out of the gate 2 months ago, and it's still far from perfect.
This post comes from John F. Wasik at partner site The Fiscal Times.
I've been trying to apply for insurance on HealthCare.gov since the site went live in October. Since I'd like to find an affordable policy for myself and my family of four, I'm still trying. But the site still won't give me access to the application I filed over the phone a month ago.
While the White House has insisted that most of the problems with the site are fixed, there are still plenty of bugs that prevent it from doing its intended mission: Linking Americans with affordable private insurance policies.
The latest chapter in my two-month-long quest involved trying to bypass the buggy system. Although I was finally able to log on recently after a short respite in the HealthCare.gov "waiting room," I got bounced to an error page that stated my "identity wasn't verified."
This was unexpected since I gave all of my application information verbally to a HealthCare.gov representative in late October on the system's toll-free telephone line. I was assured that someone would get back to me in three weeks. I did receive a call, but without the ability to identify them -- or my personal information -- I couldn't talk to them. It could've been a scam -- I wasn't expecting a call, nor did I get a letter confirming the application.
When I called again on Dec. 2, I was told that they had no record of the information I provided. This was troubling since I gave out Social Security numbers for myself and three other family members, dates of birth and other vital information. Where did this information go? They didn't know.
Once again, I was offered an opportunity to provide the application information over the phone, -- which I declined, since they botched the first attempt. As an alternative, I was given an address in London, Ky., to send a copy of my driver's license or voter ID card for identity verification. I did that last week by express mail, which for some reason took three days to reach its destination.
Is a bug in the system actually losing information? Where does the information go if it's not going to insurance companies or online storage? Is it in the cloud? Is the Russian mafia hacking it and selling it?
Has Washington really fixed the system?
There are myriad technical problems with HealthCare.gov that the Obama administration still isn't coming clean on when it spins this tale of incompetence and management mayhem. Roughly one-third of those who have signed up since Oct. 1 have had computer-generated errors in their enrollment records, according to a recent estimate reported by The Washington Post and disputed by the White House. Exactly how many applicants are experiencing problems hasn't been disclosed.
It's clear that HealthCare.gov still can't handle the hundreds of thousands of visitors who want to use the system during normal business hours. When I ran into a logjam last week, I was ushered into a queue that flashed a screen stating "HealthCare.gov has a lot of visitors." Duh. One helpful option was the ability to enter in my email to inform me when I could get in.
Updated data will be out soon, but reports from earlier this month said that about 100,000 people signed up for policies in November -- four times the number registered in October. According to Health and Human Services officials, the website received an estimated 800,000 visitors last Monday, with 375,000 trying to log on before noon.
Other than the ability to handle huge volumes of users, HealthCare.gov may have some back-office problems. Are application forms actually getting to insurers? Of those who are approved for insurance, are they able to submit payment to insurers? There still seem to be problems in this area.
Some of the recent fixes have undoubtedly eased consumer frustration. There is now a "window shopping" feature that allows you to view a variety of policy options. I was able to do this last month through a technical back door that a HealthCare.gov rep told me about, but now it's accessible to more users.
Overall, though, millions are forced to be patient with the system, which is not easy for most Americans in an age when you can get news and buy things on smartphones.
Despite all of the snafus, millions of people are still willing to put up with HealthCare.gov's numerous bugs to get beyond the technical hornet's nest. If and when the system is fixed it will do something unique in American history: Use a public delivery tool to provide a private product that everyone needs.
More from The Fiscal Times
Still needs work? Well there is a fu*king surprise. It's working about as well as those "shovel ready jobs" or Congress.
Still needs work? Well, it won't happen because he's out there taking SELFIE pictures of himself at Mandela's Memorial---
He is a Selfie; selfish, arrogant, and a Narcissist.
Obamacare doesn't exist. There are no formal, organized plans for this trashy site to be credible.
2 years and waiting for the countdown, when Obama is gone---he is by far the worst President ever.
As for those hoping to sign on... thank you for supporting this dictatorship. I do hope your next life will have a higher education with an added bonus of common sense.
Let's see! The ACA (Obamacare) was shoved down our throats in 2008. According to my calculations, that was about 60 months ago. And in all that time, the Democrats still do not have the sign-up running properly. That kind of gross bureaucratic incompetency is typical of everything done in D.C.
Thank goodness the Democrats did not run the military - we'd still be fighting WWII.
To put things in perspective, an online gambling site recently went live in Atlantic city and signed up over 50,000 and the ACA websites combining state and national sites signed up roughly 150 in the same period. The Government considers a sign up or enrollment as when someone puts a policy in their cart, meaning over half have not been paid for yet. What a joke!!!
If the health insurance industry needs to change to meet the needs of all Americans, then let it happen through networking the people who are involved with the system - insurance companies, healthcare providers, and patients(you and I). Good, old -fashioned collaboration, cooperation and negotiation between citizens. The government cannot be trusted to engineer, develop and implement something this big with the mentality that is prevalent in D.C. More time and money is wasted in bickering over their "feelings" than getting the job done, taking care of their constituents. That is why they were sent to D.C., NOT to join some good-old-boy, hot-air blowing, debating squad who know nothing and do even less.
Obamacare "portal stumbled out of the gate... and it's still far from perfect".
Yep. Pretty much sums up that entire administration.
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