Healthcare.gov, Getting Healthier in DecemberBy: Mike Tuttle - December 3, 2013
“We do know that things are not perfect with the site. We will continue to make improvements and upgrades.”
Julie Bataille, Director of CMS’ Office of Communications, is one of many working to make the government’s online health exchange successful. “The bottom line is we have fixed many of the bugs associated with the forms, known as 834 forms,” she said. “Insurance companies have told CMS that the forms are working correctly in their systems.”
According to The Washington Post, the Obama administration released a report this weekend that shows improvement in the consumer experience. System response time has fallen from eight seconds to less than one second. More than 400 of the 600 fixes on the administration’s list of repairs have been made. The administration believes HealthCare.gov can now handle 50,000 simultaneous users. The site, which was down over half of the time in early November, is now working nearly 95 percent of the time.
In Utah, online assisters say three of every four people successfully signed up for health coverage within an hour of logging in. In North Dakota, an overseeing state official said he had noticed improvements in the site, as did others helping people sign up in parts of Alabama and Wisconsin.
Other states, however, have not yet noticed these improvements.
“We had very high hopes for today, but those hopes were very much quashed,” said Amanda Crowell, director of revenue cycle for UnityPoint Health-Trinity, which has four hospitals in Illinois and Iowa.
Staff members at an organization in South Florida have also have said that they have seen no major improvements from Healthcare.gov.
But federal health officials understand that the website is still a work in progress and that some participants are successful in obtaining their heath care information.
On Monday, Starla Redmon, 58, of Paris, Ill., was able to successfully get into a health plan with help from an enrollment counselor in less than an hour. She was surprised the website worked so well after hearing many reports about its problems.
“Everything she typed in, it went through,” said Redmon, who juggles two part-time jobs and has been uninsured for four years. She chose a bronze plan and will pay about $75 a month after a tax credit. “It was the cheapest plan I could go with.”
HealthCare.gov is quickly improving. In other words, it will be fixed. For most people, it is fixed now, or will be fixed quite soon.
Undeniably, change hurts, particularly in health-care insurance. This may hurt the Democrats in 2014. But Obamacare will create millions, and perhaps tens of millions, of winners who are getting insurance or protection through the law.
On Monday, according to USA Today, New York statistics showed that 91,000 people had enrolled for health insurance, about 50,000 had bought a qualified plan, and an additional 41,000 had qualified for Medicaid.
“We certainly expect enrollment to increase because of the fixes [to the website],” Bataille said.
The site is supposed to be able to accommodate about 800,000 visitors each day, based on an eight-hour day.
Image via: Wikimedia Commons