EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

World/National News

October 24, 2013

Health care sign-up snags, fix-it efforts detailed

(Continued)

For example, technical problems have surfaced that are making it hard for people to complete the application and plan-shopping functions. That’s a big concern because those stages are further along in the signup process than the initial registration, where many consumers have been getting tripped up.

The problems are being analyzed and fixes are planned, the department said.

The explanation, posted online in a department blog and accompanying graphic, identified other broad areas of problems and outlined fixes underway but in most cases incomplete:

Unexpectedly high consumer interest that overwhelmed the system in its initial days. Equipment has been added to handle the load and system design has been improved. More fixes are in progress.

Lack of a way for consumers to browse their health plan options without first having to set up a user account. A partial fix is in place.

Incorrect or duplicate information in enrollments is being delivered to insurance companies. Some software fixes that should help address the issue have been completed, others are underway.

Difficulties for consumers trying to create user accounts, including drop-down menus that didn’t work. Design changes and software fixes should address the situation.

The new markets are supposed to be the portal to coverage for people who don’t get health insurance on the job.

Middle-class people are to pick from subsidized private insurance plans, while low-income people are steered to Medicaid in states that agreed to expand that safety-net program.

The federal government is running the online markets in 36 states, and its website has had more than its share of problems.

As a result, even Obama has urged consumers to revert to low-tech approaches, by applying through the mail, telephoning federal call centers, or seeking in-person assistance.

In light of the computer problems, some Democrats are saying Obama should consider extending open enrollment season beyond next March 31, and revisit the penalties for individuals who don’t sign up and remain uninsured.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
World/National News

Latest U.S. News
Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Officials Warn of Avoidable Death in Hot Cars Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' House Committee at Odds Over Obama Lawsuit Biden Talks Economy and Civil Rights Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Gen. Odierno Discusses Ukraine, NATO at Forum Mint Gives JFK Coin a Face-lift
Latest World News
Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 U.N. School in Gaza Hit by Israeli Strike Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: UN School Used As Shelter Hit by Tank Shell Raw: Gunmen Attack Iraqi Prison Convoy Plane Leaves Ukraine With More Crash Victims Gaza Fighting Rages Amid Cease-Fire Efforts Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Today in History for July 24th Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Raw: Rescue Workers at Taiwan Plane Crash Site Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel
Photos of the Week