Though the Obama administration appears to have fixed the most obvious problems with the healthcare.gov website, the troubles with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act are far from over. As I argue in a column at e21, it is far from clear that healthcare.gov is working as well as it needs to, and in any case, some glitches on a website are far from the most serious problems facing Obamacare’s implementation.
Further, multiple media reports indicate that insurers are still not receiving accurate enrollment information in many cases. Fully one-third of the sign-ups in October were corrupted, meaning that there are already several thousand Americans who think they have signed up successfully for health insurance but really have not. And the administration now admits that, even after the supposed fixes to the system over the past month, there is still a ten percent error rate in the transmission of enrollment applications to insurers. If that holds in the coming weeks, and the administration keeps beating the bushes to get more people to sign up through the website, there will be hundreds of thousands of Americans who think they have health insurance come January 1 but do not. The backlash from these botched enrollments will only add to the legend of the Obamacare implementation fiasco.
And then there is the still unresolved issue of insurance cancellations. The administration is pleased that there were supposedly 29,000 people enrolling in coverage in the first two days of December through healthcare.gov. But that per day rate implies 345,000 sign-ups by December 23rd through the federal website—well short of the five million who have received notices indicating their insurance will terminate effective January 1. The president’s half-hearted and lawless attempt to allow these people to keep their old policies in 2014 may reduce those facing a break in coverage somewhat, and others are likely to purchase new plans outside of the exchanges. Even so, if only 2 million people are facing a break in coverage on January 1, that is still 85,000 people per day through online enrollment—well above anything experienced to date at the federal and state-run websites.
You can read the rest of the column here.