States HInting That Actual Online Enrollment for Insurance Marketplaces Will Not Happen

by Patrick Riley 26 Aug 2013
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The Washington Post is reporting that the ability to actually "click" a purchase icon on a state insurance marketplace and buy health insurance October 1st may not be possible. Many states are quick to point out though that this disclosure should not be problematic. The plan for states like Oregon, Califiornia, and the District of Columbia is to let online shoppers bang around on the Website, review approved health plans, check prices, but when it comes to select a plan and enroll online you will be directed to call a representative to complete the transaction. Not exactly what the Obama administration and Kathleen Sebelius at Health and Human Services had hoped for.

In Oregon's case, they do not even plan to make their insurance marketplace Website available to the general public. They will, however, make it available to insurance brokers and health plan navigators. The plan is to discover the glitches this way and spare the public from having to go through multiple and frustrating 404 redirect error messages.

Spanish language marketplaces appear to be getting pushed to the back burner, again, to the absolute dismay of HHS and health policy folks working in the White House. Hispanic enrollment numbers are needed desperately to make enrollment work for the President and the Affordable Care Act.

Look for more revelations as we get closer to September and much anticipation as we close in on October for sure. Healthcare has never seen such activity and focus on "big-data" which can only benefit all of us in the long run. We may stumble or not exactly be flawless out of the gate, but so much is at stake that I predict we will eventually get to the end goal of seamless, bi-directional flow of state and federal data to facilitate public enrollment for health insurance.

I will continue to examine all aspects of the health insurance marketplaces and try to stay abreast of the most important issues facing implementation. You can follow me on Twitter @Patrick_FrostHC

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