In light of Monday’s major mea culpa on the part of President Barack Obama regarding the shortcomings and technological failures of the first month of online insurance exchanges, some of those providing technical expertise say the issues probably cannot and will not be solved overnight.
Don Garlitz, executive director of exchange services for Chicago-based bswift, an administrative technology service provider, says his company – which is directly responsible for state exchange systems in Utah – isn’t quite in the position to judge the shortfalls of the federal system, which developed serious issues from its launch three weeks ago.
“On the whole, I think it’s a shame that they tried to come out of the gate with a technology solution that was fully figured, thinking they could pull the trigger on day one and it would all work,” Garlitz says. “But as we’re not personally involved in eligibility computations, I don’t think that we even know what’s going to happen at the state level.”
Garlitz says the state systems do, by comparison, seem to be enjoying some smoother sailing, though major backlogs and service interruptions have been reported in systems from coast to coast.
And while the president has vowed that technical experts will immediately help address the current access and processing bottleneck, Garlitz notes that other issues may haunt the federal exchange portal for months, if not years, to come.
“My biggest concern is the long-term strategic challenge that comes from the fact that the feds are not keeping any records of who’s applying for what, which is perhaps intentional. We’ve heard that folks have, by accident, been enrolled with the wrong carrier, or the wrong effective date – and once that information was transferred to a carrier, the government site drops the data. What happens when a consumer thought they should enroll, and they didn’t? Who has those records?”
According to the HHS blog, nearly half a million Americans have already submitted their applications for health care through the 51 existing exchanges.
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