Health Care Reform: Federal Health Insurance Marketplace Opens With Technical “Glitches”
The federal health insurance marketplace (also known as the federal “exchange”) began accepting enrollments beginning on October 1. Enrollment has encountered a number of technical difficulties, both on the federal website (www.HealthCare.gov) as well as individual state exchange websites. Information technology contractors have been unable to remedy the problem to date, and contractors, the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and government officials have all received intense public pressure to fix the situation. Nevertheless, redesigns of the marketplace website are underway, and the Department of Health and Human Services has expanded staffing at its call centers to handle increased user traffic. While the marketplace remains somewhat of a work in progress, the initial open enrollment period is currently scheduled to last until March 31, 2014, so time remains to get the marketplace back on track. Many employers are depending on the success of the marketplace tool so that they can have an accurate picture of the real options available to their employees outside of employer-provided group health coverage.