On Friday, it was confirmed that the face of the ACA online health insurance marketplace, HealthCare.gov, will undergo an in-depth improvement process in response to its nationwide criticism. Within the first three weeks of its operation, over 19 million people have visited the sight but many of its users have experienced a growing number of problems, prompting criticism from industry professionals and political figures. The health exchanges are a key component of the healthcare reform law under the ACA, and needs to operate at the highest level of efficiency if it is to succeed.
After weeks of finger-pointing, the Department of Health and Human Services released a statement indicating that all improvements and repairs to the site will be completed by Nov 30th, giving individuals ample time to shop for coverage before the Dec 15th deadline.
Leading the project as general contractor is Quality Software Services Inc., a subsidiary of the UnitedHealth Group.
Currently, time is of the essence. Many major insurance companies have already notified their members that their coverage will soon expire due to current plans not meeting ACA requirements. While the numbers regarding how many individuals have successfully enrolled or purchased coverage through the marketplace remain unspecified, it has been reported that 90% of users have been able to create accounts but only 30% were able to complete applications.
On the agenda of issues to be addressed, Jeff Zeints, soon-to-be chief economic advisor to The White House, pointed to a “punch list” of resolutions for fixing the problems experienced in the online health insurance marketplace. The proposed fixes are targeted towards two key categories of issues: performance issues and functionality issues.
While the news of efforts being made to rectify the problems within the marketplace may quiet some critics, there is still room for further criticism to be made during the congressional hearing of Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the HHS. A number of key industry professionals and politicians have continually voiced their criticism of both the HHS and the online health insurance marketplace in an effort to see the law rescinded or rectified immediately.
The diagram below highlights how the online health insurance marketplace is expected to work and indicates where problems have been encountered.
As the topic of how we fix HealthCare.gov remains on the minds of millions, feel free to submit your suggestions or questions via our Twitter account @PayerFusion. We'll try to respond to as many as we can.