The Obama administration claims that it has achieved its goal of making the Obamacare website work “for the vast majority of users.” Specifically, the administration asserts that the website will allow those who log-in to move through its registration process 90 percent of the time, up from 40 percent in October.
Does this mean that the website is fixed? I don’t think so.
First, 90 percent fixed doesn’t mean fixed. If Power Line crashed 10 percent of the time on our readers, we would consider the site broken.
More importantly, the administration’s 90 percent figure, even if believed, pertains only to working one’s way through the interface process. Successful completion of that process does not equal successfully obtaining insurance coverage.
The New York Times explains:
The problem is that the systems that are supposed to deliver consumer information to insurers still have not been fixed. And with coverage for many people scheduled to begin in just 30 days, insurers are worried the repairs may not be completed in time.
“Until the enrollment process is working from end to end, many consumers will not be able to enroll in coverage,” said Karen M. Ignagni, president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade group.
The administration, then, has fixed (to some extent) the facade of Obamacare — like the exterior one sees of a building — but not its insides. This fix may end some of the late night television jokes, but it doesn’t solve the underlying issue of obtaining insurance one can use. As such, it only defers, probably not for long, the frustration of a great many consumers.
Again from the Times:
Some insurers say they have been deluged with phone calls from people who believe they have signed up for a particular health plan, only to find that the company has no record of the enrollment. Others say information they received about new enrollees was inaccurate or incomplete, so they had to track down additional data — a laborious task that will not be feasible if data is missing for tens of thousands of consumers.
In still other cases, insurers said, they have not been told how much of a customer’s premium will be subsidized by the government, so they do not know how much to charge the policyholder. . . .
Insurers said they had received calls from consumers requesting insurance cards because they thought they had enrolled in a health plan through the federal website, but the insurers said they had not been notified.
“Somehow people are getting lost in the process,” the insurance executive said. “If they go to a doctor or a hospital and we have no record of them, that will be very upsetting to consumers.”
Times reporters and Robert Pear and Reed Abelson say, perhaps with a touch of snark, that “in effect, the administration gave itself a passing grade” on its website fix. I doubt those who discover that, despite their successful navigation of the website, there is no record of them having insurance will grade the administration so generously.