HealthCare.gov No Longer a Complete Fail

Enrollment counselors on the front lines praise fixes to the federal health website, but that doesn't mean more people are signing up

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Charles Dharapak / AP

President Barack Obama speaks about his signature health care law.

Health-insurance-enrollment counselors in several large states said on Monday that the problem-plagued HealthCare.gov was operating reasonably well for the first time since its Oct. 1 launch, with clients able to use the site with relative ease throughout the day. Despite marked improvement in the website’s consumer functions, it is unclear what back-end problems remain and if the millions of Americans expected to purchase plans through the new insurance marketplace will be able to do so in time to have coverage that begins on Jan. 1.

“There’s definitely been a huge improvement in the stability of the system and in the error messages,” says Melisa Garcia, vice president of clinical business services for Legacy Community Health Services in Houston, which employs some 30 certified application counselors that assist those signing up for coverage. “It’s been exponentially different,” says Jodi Ray, project director for Florida Covering Kids and Families, which received a $4 million Affordable Care Act (ACA) grant to facilitate enrollment.

But even with the improvements, only a small percentage of people these counselors have helped to access the site have actually purchased coverage. Of the approximately 2,000 consumers Legacy has helped to use the insurance marketplace, Garcia says she can confirm that just 32 had signed up for coverage. (The rest may still be reviewing plans or planning to finish the process on their own.)

(MORE: Obama Administration: ‘We Have Met the Goal’ of Fixing Website)

Those low numbers track with the total figures for October, when the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said just 106,185 people enrolled in new health insurance through HealthCare.gov and state-run ACA insurance websites. That total included consumers who had selected plans but not yet paid for them, and HHS had reportedly predicted some 500,000 would sign up during the month. HHS has said it will release enrollment figures for November later this month.

“October was homework month. November was window-shopping month. December is ‘Let’s hope they buy it’ month,” says Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, which received a $2 million ACA grant to help consumers enroll in coverage.

Enrollment counselors say many consumers shopping in the federal insurance exchange and those being run by 14 states are unfamiliar with the complexities of selecting health insurance. These consumers must compare premiums, deductibles, co-pays, co-insurance and the types of drugs covered by various plans — a time-consuming process that could not begin when the federal website wasn’t working properly. And time is of the essence: for plans beginning on Jan. 1, the first month’s premium needs to be paid by Dec. 23.

“Everybody doesn’t talk insurance,” says Ray. “All they know is ‘I need to see a doctor, and I haven’t had a mammogram in seven years because I haven’t had health insurance.’”

Signing up for coverage through HealthCare.gov is often a multiday process for consumers buying plans on their own. For those in need of assistance at one of thousands of community organizations facilitating enrollment across the country, that can mean making multiple trips to meet with in-person counselors.

(MORE: No Thanksgiving Celebrations for Obamacare Website Team as Deadline Nears)

“Unless clients come in completely prepared and having done a lot of research ahead of time, we don’t recommend they purchase until they get a chance to go through all the plans,” says Garcia. Multiple appointments with enrollment counselors and “navigators,” consumer-assistance workers whose salaries are paid through the ACA, has strained community-based nonprofit organizations like Legacy. “Some people need multiple appointments just to get to the point where they could compare plans,” says Garcia. “We have people working later in the evenings, weekends. It has been a drain on resources.”

Federal health officials said traffic to the improved website surged on Monday, with 750,000 visitors as of 5:30 p.m. A new queuing system was employed whenever about 35,000 users logged on, according to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services spokeswoman Julie Bataille, meaning many consumers had to wait for available website slots to sign up for accounts and select plans. Bataille said one software bug that has caused insurers to receive garbled consumer information has been repaired, but she declined to release data on how frequently insurers had received incorrect information or how widespread the problem remains. She recommended that consumers contact insurers directly to verify their enrollment. Insurers have said back-end website problems could cause some consumers to incorrectly believe they have coverage when they do not. And some reporters and consumers using HealthCare.gov on Monday said they had encountered error pages, despite Bataille’s assurances that the website was working well.

279 comments
valentine.godoflove
valentine.godoflove

IN CAPS....FOR THE ELDERLY.....DEFEND THE WEAK AGAINST TYRANTS....KNIGHT TEMPLARS


"OBAMA WEBSITE NOT A COMPLETE FAILURE"......LEFTWING TIME MAGAZINE EXTOLLS


YES.....CITIZENS OF THE U.S...........


IT IS ONLY A ......"90% FAILURE"........ALL THE SICK WILL ENROLL.......LIKE SELLING FIRE INSURANCE......AND AL THE BURNING HOUSES WANTED TO JOIN YOUR "INSURANCE" PLAN......


THAT IS NOT INSURANCE.......THAT IS .....INSTANT LOSER......OR .....WELFARE.....


LET US CALL A SPADE A SPADE.....


VALENTINE....COMEDIAN.....LOL....

stevesherman05
stevesherman05

90% up time, 80% user experience success (which is a lie), 33% inaccurate data sent to insurers, 0% security and verification = Criminal Fraud  

ToddWest
ToddWest

the website problems are a distraction, anyone who signs up for something that requires them to purchase, whether they want to or not,  a product or service or face fines or jail is gullible beyond belief.  Obamacare is a complete racket.  Don't sign up for it.

AdmiralAckbar3
AdmiralAckbar3

so they added more servers to take care of the traffic and it is still not accessible, I TRIED


Obama is a liar and full of it

jmac
jmac

What's a paulejb to do?   The more the site is successful, the more he spams and spews and sputters and spawns. 

I'd say it's a success.  

paulejb
paulejb

Insurer says only 10% pay LOWER premiums WITH SUBSIDY…

"Remember when Obama said people would be able to find better plans for less on the Obamacare website? Fox News reporter Jim Angle says that’s not panning out to be true for most people. At the end of the segment below Angle quotes an anonymous insurer who found that only 10% of it’s pool of $375,000 customers pay less with a subsidy and 1/3rd of that same pool pay a lot more."

So, Barack Obama's claim that premiums would decrease by $2500 was just one more heaping pile of dung.

barneydidit
barneydidit

@ToddWest Are taxes "beyond belief" Todd? I pay taxes in my county that go toward police protection, and I haven't locked my front door in the 18 years I've lived here. Should I refuse to pay my taxes because I personally don't get 100% of the possible benefit my taxes generate?  I also rarely fly, maybe I should stop paying the portion of my federal tax that supports the FAA.  I always love people who feel like they should have absolute freedom to do whatever they want...or not want to do, but then expect everyone around them to play by the rules. 

manlyman
manlyman

@jmac  obamacare is a complete and utter bust, trainwreck is the kindest term I can give it right now. You have no idea, but a whole lot of people do. Where're  all the success stories jaymack? You know the swooning adoration the msm has for bo, they don't seem to be breaking out in song last I looked. Trust in government is at an all time low, obama's credibility is damaged, beyond repair I believe, and the worst is yet to come. Its way bigger than a website, the website's failure is merely a symbol of the failure of obcare. The dems will take a major hit on this one, there's absolutely no way around that and that's a good thing for America, its just sad that so many people are having to suffer for big govs utter failure. But its an eyeopener that's been a long time coming. Keep waving that torch jaymack, keep putting your stupidity on display for the world to see. Your master is bleeding out, no amount of your mouth-to-sphincter resussitation can help him now.

shepherdwong
shepherdwong

@jmac  When you look up "troll" in the dictionary, it's a picture of pauljb. My suggestion, don't go there.

jmac
jmac

@paulejb "Remember When America Had a Real President"

You mean Nancy?   The one who had to whisper in his ear because he was so far out of the loop he might as well have been on the farm?  

barneydidit
barneydidit

@paulejb Hmmmm....Reagan- who violated the Constitution, raised taxes 11 times, increased the size of the government, and tripled the debt....was a "real" President?

MementoMori
MementoMori

@paulejb 

Always making promises you never plan to keep. Why, you're just like Obama!

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@paulejb Bye Bye. Love the Reagan sticker. Only you would defend a man with the most corrupt administration in the last century.

shepherdwong
shepherdwong

@paulejb "ObamaCare is nothing but lies."

Like John Wayne Gacy calling someone else a murderer.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@paulejb And the GOP lies because they have Their "Best Interest in Mind" and there is the difference.

richard40
richard40

You give us the typical leftie false choice.  Either we must have no gov at all, or must accept every piece of leftie crap you want to foist on us.  How about a happy medium, like about 50% of the gov we currently have.  And what gov we do have should be mostly at the state level, rather than the fed level.  And ToddWest's point is a good one.  If Obamacare is really so great, why are people forced to buy it.  Get rid of the cooercion, and give people real choice, you guys are supposed to like choice right.  Repeal all the obamacare mandates for plans sold outside the exchange (so the If You Like It promise becomes really true), and repeal the individual and employer mandate.  Then, once people have real choice, if they still want to buy the obamacare plans that is great.  You are constantly telling us how much better the obamacare plans will be for everybody, then fine, let people be able to freely choose them, instead of making the exchange a forcible fed gov monopoly.

shepherdwong
shepherdwong

@manlyman "Where're  all the success stories jaymack?"

There are already millions of them. People with pre-existing conditions, kids who stayed on their parent's insurance. people who got access to Medicare, people who replacing their bu!!sh!t policies with actual coverage, people who can't have their policy cancelled because they get sick, etc.  1) Things would have gone better if Republicans hadn't worked so hard to sabotage the rollout and 2) you won't see the millions of success stories on FOX.

paulejb
paulejb

@mantisdragon91 @paulejb 

There you have it, people. Lame Obamanistas are dredging up old news in a desperate effort to excuse Barack Obama's numerous lies.

shepherdwong
shepherdwong

@richard40"...will choose the supposedly terribly flawed private market, or obamacare."

Obamacare is the flawed private market, you brainwashed idiot. That's the whole point. The real choice would be to let people choose between a private plan (Obamacare) or a single-payer, government administered plan like Medicare. Everyone needs to be insured if we want to take the costs of the uninsured off the backs of hospitals, taxpayers and the insured. Get over it.

richard40
richard40

I suspect a few people will do better, but most will not.  The problem is the great bennies you list have to be paid for, and now people are finally seeing the bill, and they dont like it.  But there is an easy way to verify whether your obamacare plans are really better for most people.  Remove the cooercion.  Repeal all the mandates for non exchange plans, and the individual and employer mandate, so the decision to buy an exchange plan is totally voluntary.  Then see how many people buy these great obamacare plans once they are no longer forced to.  You are constantly telling us how terrible the private health care market was, so lets see a real test, with real choice, and then lets see whether, once people have a real choice, they will choose the supposedly terribly flawed private market, or obamacare.

shepherdwong
shepherdwong

@ToddWest "Your BS policies ship does not tread water, many are forced to pay for less services at a higher premium, in fact, outside of the medicare signups, MOST are getting less services at a higher cost."

You'll need to cite some data to support the latter claim. Everything I've seen says the exact opposite: more coverage at equal or lesser cost for most people (and, no, I won't just take your word for it).

Otherwise, don't call Obamacare, "[y]our BS policies." Those are Republican Heritage Foundation policies. I'm a a liberal. I insisted on a public option, in lieu of a real single-payer system, the only true free market for healthcare.

ToddWest
ToddWest

@shepherdwong so, use those clauses in the bill, not make everyone have to sign up for a product or service presented by for-profit companies.  Those things you mentioned are good, outside of the commercial insurance racket.  Those alone could have been a set of healthcare related laws, if you want national healthcare, forcing compliance to purchase a commercial product or service is not the way to go.  That's just a government mandated participation racket. Your BS policies ship does not tread water, many are forced to pay for less services at a higher premium, in fact, outside of the medicare signups, MOST are getting less services at a higher cost.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@paulejb @mantisdragon91 They would? Can they tell the difference between the gas that we know France sold Syria and the one you claim(with no proof) that they got from Iraq?

paulejb
paulejb

"Syrian chemical weapons may shed light on Saddam's missing WMDs" In 2006, Georges Sada, a former general of Saddam’s air force, detailed in his book, “Saddam’s Secrets,” how Saddam had secretly moved much of his WMD material to Syria before the U.S.-led invasion under the cover of providing relief to Syrian earthquake victims. Sada’s claims were detailed in Examiner in 2011."

http://www.examiner.com/article/syrian-chemical-weapons-may-shed-light-on-saddam-s-missing-wmds

paulejb
paulejb

@mantisdragon91 @paulejb 

Of course there were no WMD in Iraq. They went to Syria.

paulejb
paulejb

@mantisdragon91 @paulejb

New evidence confirms the transfer.

"Finally, current Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper, who formerly headed the U.S. agency that processes and analyzes satellite imagery (the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency), claimed in an interview with the New York Timesin October of 2003 that “satellite imagery showing a heavy flow of traffic from Iraq into Syria just before the American invasion in March” led him to believe that illegal weapons material had “unquestionably” been moved out of Iraq."

http://www.policymic.com/articles/62103/how-did-syria-get-chemical-weapons-did-they-come-from-our-old-friend-saddam

I rest my case.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@paulejb @mantisdragon91 And yet they were smarter than Bush and Cheney. They said there were no WMDs and none were found. Guess that makes GWB Mr Magoo and Cheney his dog.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@paulejb @mantisdragon91 All before the UN inspectors who were their in 2003 reported their findings. Why was their such a rush to marginalize their reports and get them out of the country? Scared the US public would find out the truth and vote against Georgie's little war of aggression?

paulejb
paulejb

@mantisdragon91 @paulejb

"We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country."
-- Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

"Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power."
-- Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."
-- Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002

All lies, Bugs?

paulejb
paulejb

@mantisdragon91 @paulejb 

The GOP lies no more than the average politician.

Barack Hussein Obama is a pathological liar. He lies for sport.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@paulejb @mantisdragon91 So why does the GOP lie? To protect Military Contractors, Serial Polluters and Religious Fanatics. When even the Pope has turned on your platform what do you have left?