Obamacare rollout: “glitches” plague insurers

**Posted by Phineas

"Obamacare has arrived"
“Obamacare has arrived”

It’s not just consumers being caught up in the Obamacare rollout issues rolling disaster of this anti-constitutional monstrosity’s implementation. According to Bloomberg, insurance companies at the other end of the sign-up process are receiving scads of useless data, leaving them unable to enroll many applicants:

Insurers are getting faulty and incomplete data from the new U.S.-run health exchange, which may mean some Americans won’t be covered even after they sign up for an insurance plan.

While it’s not clear how widespread the problem is, the reports from industry consultants are the first hint that the technical troubles faced by consumers trying to enroll in health plans under the Affordable Care Act may also be hitting the insurers. The companies are receiving electronic files that can’t open or have so much missing information on new enrollees they’re unusable, the consultants said.

Some insurers have been forced to fix entries by hand, said Bob Laszewski, an insurance-industry consultant based in Arlington, Virginia.
“If we don’t see substantial improvement by the end of this week, then I would throw up the yellow flag,” said Dan Schuyler, a consultant advising states and insurers on the exchanges. “If we don’t see it in the next two to three weeks, it’s time for red flags. The concern is some people could get to Jan. 1, and not have coverage.”

No, really? According to Covered California, our state-based exchange in one of the biggest potential markets for Obamacare, the sign up rate was 0.58 percent. And, per Hot Air, Maryland has seen 326 enrollments out of a potential 600,000, for a whopping 0.00054 percent. Not that that hasn’t stopped Bloomberg News from spinning like a top to paint the state exchanges as a relative success, but I digress. The federal government operates exchanges for the majority of states. The very fact that the government refuses to release enrollment figures for another month indicates very few have successfully signed up. And that’s just accounting for healthcare.gov’s infamous slowness and crashes at the consumer end. Per Bloomberg again, the back-end troubles may make those November figures suspect:

With the government site, some of the electronic files are being transfered with missing data or are corrupted to the point where they can’t be opened, Laszewski and Schuyler said in telephone interviews.

To fix the files, insurers have to go through them by hand. When thousands of people sign up, as the U.S. is hoping will happen before mid-December, it may create a large backup, the two consultants said.

They’re not kidding. Imagine what will happen when December hits and more and more people who are losing their insurance coverage realize they must buy insurance or be fined. If they’re having this kind of problem now —after more than three years to prepare— the meltdown caused by an end of the year rush could easily be… Well, look at the picture at the top.

And it’s not just right-side blogs and news sources noticing this. An editorial at USA Today, a part of the liberal Gannett chain, is just brutal, calling the rollout an “inexcusable mess:

President Obama’s chief technology adviser, Todd Park, blames the unexpectedly large numbers of people who flocked to Healthcare.gov and state websites. “Take away the volume and it works,” he told USA TODAY’s Tim Mullaney.

That’s like saying that except for the torrential rain, it’s a really nice day. Was Park not listening to the administration’s daily weather report predicting Obamacare’s popularity?

Park said the administration expected 50,000 to 60,000 simultaneous users. It got 250,000. Compare that with the similarly rocky debut seven years ago of exchanges to obtain Medicare drug coverage. The Bush administration projected 20,000 simultaneous users and built capacity for 150,000.

That’s the difference between competence and incompetence.

Ouch. That’s a comparison that will leave a mark.

So, with massive problems on the consumer end coupled with unusable applications at the insurers’ end, and what may be fatally flawed software design, it looks like the government has a building fiasco on its hands. Too bad no one in the government foresaw this.

Oh, wait…

via Jim Geraghty

RELATED: At the Los Angeles Business Journal, Steve Duschene calls Obamacare “doctored coverage.” Do read it; it’s a glowing example of how the average middle class American is getting the shaft.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

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