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This Year's Glitch — How ObamaCare Will Screw You Now

November 13, 2014 in Economics

By Michael D. Tanner

Michael D. Tanner

Saturday starts round two of ObamaCare open enrollment — and we may be one mouse click away from a repeat of last year’s healthcare.gov debacle.

The administration claims that the Web site has undergone more rigorous testing this time around, but officials refuse to promise that all the “glitches” have been fixed. Health Secretary Sylvia Burwell warns, “we will have things that won’t go right. We will have outages, we will have downtime.”

That’s a safe bet, since the glitches have already started.

For instance, the administration was supposed to mail notices to some 7.1 million Americans by Nov. 1, notifying them that they may be eligible for subsidies next year. Fewer than a million notices went out on time.

And testing still isn’t finished for parts of the small-business exchange program, known as SHOP — a program that was supposed to be ready last year, but never got off the ground.

The administration thinks the consumer part of the SHOP system will be fully operational by Saturday. But other parts, such as the ability to relay premium information back to employers, need up to a month more testing.

Last fall’s collapse of healthcare.gov was the first in a series of government failures that many believe led to the Republican wave on Election Day.”

The enrollment process has been simplified. Where an applicant had to navigate 76 separate computer screens last year, it’s now down to 16 for most people.

Still, expect delays and problems. For one thing, this year’s open-enrollment period lasts only three months, half as long as last year’s. That means the number of people trying to access healthcare.gov each day will be much higher than the number that repeatedly crashed the site last time.

Roughly 7.1 million Americans bought insurance though the exchanges last year. Many had been uninsured, but even more had simply been forced to change plans, because their previous insurance didn’t meet all ObamaCare’s requirements.

The administration has lowered its estimates for how many new people will sign up this year from 6 million to just 2 million to 3 million. That’s bad news for the promised universal coverage, but it might take some of the pressure off the system.

Unfortunately, more folks will have to change plans this year. Some people managed to lock in noncompliant plans early enough last year to avoid cancelation, but the reprieve was temporary: Cancelation notices are on their way.

In the …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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