Tag Archives: amateur hour

$1.2 billion failed exchange amateur hour

Obamacare’s Failed State Exchanges – Reason.com.

The federal government spent more on broken state-run exchanges than it did on its own troubled system. Of the 14 states, plus the District of Columbia, that established their own health insurance coverage under Obamacare, seven remain dysfunctional, disabled, or severely underperforming. Development of those exchanges was funded heavily by the federal government through a series of grants that totaled more than $1.2 billion—almost double the $677 million cost of development for the federal exchange. (emphasis added)

When was the law passed, remind me one more time?

  • Passed the Senate 12/24/2009
  • Passed the House 3/21/2010
  • Signed by Obama 3/23/2010

What date is it now?  2/27/2014

Days from singing signing of Obamacare until today: 1437

Days from singing signing of Obamacare until open enrollment started: 1289

Yet 50% of the state run exchanges couldn’t get their act together.

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Oregon exchange amateur hour

Congressmen want probe of Oregon’s Obamacare exchange.

An Oregon congressman and other legislators on Thursday called for a federal probe of Oregon’s deeply troubled Obamacare health insurance exchange, which has been unable to enroll anyone online despite receiving $305 million in federal grants.

“The catastrophic breakdown of Cover Oregon is unacceptable and taxpayers deserve accountability,” U.S. Rep Greg Walden, R-Ore., and other leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee wrote in a letter to the General Accountability Office, naming Oregon’s health exchange.

Apparently Oregon is the worst…

“Although the rollout of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has been problematic nationwide, no state has had more complications than Oregon,” Walden and the other congressmen wrote. “The state of Oregon’s exchange website, Cover Oregon, has been such a technological failure that the site has been unable to enroll anyone months after the start of the open enrollment period.”

Wow, at least Maryland enrolled 33,000 people.

The site has had so many technical difficulties that its enrollment is a paltry 33,000—significantly below what officials had hoped to see for Maryland, which is one of just 14 states operating its own Obamacare marketplace.

Amateur hour. Remind me again, how long did they know this was coming down the road?

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Maryland fires Obamacare exchange IT contractor

Amateur hour – Maryland fires Obamacare exchange IT contractor.

Some may say it’s a couple of months late and $65 million short, but Maryland finally fired the contractor that designed its botched Obamacare exchange.

It’s nice to know how much money is too much money. They should have done this months ago with less than 40 days left in open enrollment.

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An Obamacare supporter’s misadventures with HealthCare.gov

An Obamacare supporter’s misadventures with HealthCare.gov | The Daily Caller.

Our troubles may strike some as trivial and particular, although they wouldn’t if it happened to them. And anyone who wants a successful system – as we do – must understand that these nightmares are happening across the nation to the very people who want Obamacare to work.

This story appears to be the Deliverance version of signing up for Obamacare.

Unfortunately, having dealt with many clients, it’s all to believable.

  • Restricted provider networks
  • Restricted formularies
  • Complicated subsidy eligiblity
  • Possibly higher premiums

All of the above are gifts of Obamacare.

If you don’t qualify for a subsidy or it is very small, my recommendation is:

  • Do NOT use the exchange
  • Contact a broker
  • Purchase directly from the carrier, which will also avoid security issues with the exchange websites.
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Expanded Medicaid: Be careful out there

Expanded Medicaid’s fine print holds surprise: ‘payback’ from estate after death | Local News | The Seattle Times.

As fine print is wont to do, it had buried itself in a long form — Balhorn’s application for free health insurance through the expanded state Medicaid program. As the paperwork lay on the dining-room table in Port Townsend, Prins began reading.

She was shocked: If you’re 55 or over, Medicaid can come back after you’re dead and bill your estate for ordinary health-care expenses.

The way Prins saw it, that meant health insurance via Medicaid is hardly “free” for Washington residents 55 or older. It’s a loan, one whose payback requirements aren’t well advertised. And it penalizes people who, despite having a low income, have managed to keep a home or some savings they hope to pass to heirs, Prins said.

Washington state is trying to fix the law but long term, anything is possible…

“People will think this is wonderful, this is free insurance,” Orient said in an interview. “They don’t realize it’s really a loan, and is secured by any property they have.”

Even states that are now limiting estate recovery, she warned, can change the rules again if budget problems become more intense.

Keep in mind, if you qualify for Medicaid, you don’t qualify for a subsidy…

One reason this snafu has become so troublesome is that ACA rules appear to give those who qualify for Medicaid little choice but to accept the coverage.

People cannot receive a tax credit to subsidize their purchase of a private health plan if their income qualifies them for Medicaid, said Bethany Frey, spokeswoman for the Washington Health Benefit Exchange.

But they could buy a health plan without a tax credit, she added.

For someone age 55 to 64 at the Medicaid-income level — below $15,856 a year — it’s quite a jump from free Medicaid health insurance to an unsubsidized individual plan. Premiums in King County for an age 60 non-tobacco user for the most modest plan run from $451 to $859 per month.

I predict an industry will form to assist people in “gaming the system”.

 

 

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Want Obamacare coverage to start January 1?

Feds against paper health applications | TheHill.

Federal health officials have been advising ObamaCare counselors this week to stop using paper applications to enroll people — out of fear that the applications wouldn’t be processed in time.

Based on interviews the Associated Press conducted, enrollment counselors and brokers facilitating the insurance sign-up process have been advised by the Obama administration to stop using paper.

Uninsured consumers in the United States must sign up for health insurance by Dec. 23 in order to receive coverage starting Jan. 1.

“We received guidance from the feds recommending that folks apply online as opposed to paper,” Mike Claffey, spokesman for the Illinois Department of Insurance, told the AP.

Amateur hour.

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Obamacare glitches persist

Insurers: Despite deadline, Obamacare glitches persist – CNN.com.

Customers who signed up for coverage are calling the companies with questions and finding they aren’t in their systems. And insurers have been testing the site, submitting John Doe records and not seeing them come out the other end, an industry official said.

“There’s no part of us that thinks all of this will be fixed in three days from now,” the industry official said, referring to the administration’s self-imposed Saturday deadline to make the site work for a “vast majority” of users.

Another insurance industry insider was more blunt, saying: “It’s still all jacked up.”

Robert Zirkelbach, a spokesman for the insurance trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans, was more circumspect.

“There is still a lot of work to be done to make sure that enrollments can be done and processed accurately,” he said.

If the problems aren’t fixed, insurers fear a worst-case scenario where consumers sign up for insurance through the website and think they’re enrolled, only to find out at the doctor’s office that they don’t have any coverage.

Amateur hour.

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Obamacare Subsidies: No easy trip

Rude Awakening for Federal Way Woman Who Got Shout-Out From President – Can’t Afford Obamacare Policy After All | Washington State Wire – News of Capitol Importance.

There were errors from the start regarding the calculation of Jessica Sanford’s subsidies. It has led her down a long and winding road to a decision NOT to purchase coverage. Here is the comedy of errors…

Big Goof by State

Four days after President Obama made his address, the state health exchange publicly revealed a grevious error – its tax-credit calculations were all wrong. The state had been submitting monthly income information to the federal data hub, but the federal computers were expecting an annual figure. Suppose a person claimed an income of $50,000 a year — the tax credit was based on an income of $4,166 a year. The higher the income, the bigger the error. Brokers say they caught the mistake right off the bat and tried flagging it to the state’s attention, but for some reason it took the state three weeks to acknowledge it. So everyone who purchased a subsidized health insurance policy through the Washington state exchange prior to Oct. 23 was quoted too low a rate. The mistake involved 4,600 policies covering 8,000 people – Sanford’s policy was one of them.

The state sent a letter saying mistakes were made. And so she went back to her broker and tried again. They went over her income and made a more careful calculation of her business tax write-offs. But this time the website showed she qualified for a much lower tax credit, just $110.

With a gulp, she signed up for a less-expensive “silver” plan from Premera – meaning that it had higher deductibles and copays. Still her premium went up. “I knew I would be struggling in my slow months. I didn’t know how I was going to do it. But honestly, I just wanted to get it in my budget and start working on it right away and start working on saving money toward it – that was all I could do, just work at it and hope for the best and try to take the money from here or there or wherever.”

Sanford had managed to save enough money for half of the first month’s payment when she got another letter from the state last week. It had goofed again. She qualified for no tax credit at all.

Medicaid Eligibility Becomes Problem

The hitch was that the website told her that her income was low enough that she could enroll her son in the state Medicaid program for children of low-income families, known as Apple Health. For that she would have to pay a premium of just $30 a month. She could enroll him right away, and she did. But that created a problem. When she enrolled Ryan in Medicaid, she couldn’t count him toward a tax credit. Not that the website mentioned it. In fact, it gave her the opposite impression.

Once the new health insurance policy kicked in on Jan. 1, the premium was supposed to be $280 a month, plus, she assumed, the Medicaid premium. But after she signed up for a policy, and after she gave her credit-card information, she got a letter from the state last week saying that her income was too high to qualify for subsidies – the cutoff is $44,680 for a single adult, 400 percent of the federal poverty level. So she would get no help from the feds at all.

“I was dumbfounded,” she said. “I thought this was a total mistake, they’re going to correct this — this isn’t true. How could I not qualify for a tax credit? I make under $50,000 a year. There’s got to be something. So I got ahold of my broker, and a couple of days later he called me back, and he told me that no, it was true.”

Now she says her health-insurance dream has gone bust. Without a tax credit she has to consider the cheapest “bronze” level plans, but the deductibles are so high that couldn’t afford to purchase prescription medication. “I was like, forget that – I’m not going to pay.”

So now she is looking forward to no health insurance at all. Under the terms of the Affordable Care Act, she will have to pay a penalty of $95.

 

Amateur’s everywhere. You can’t make this stuff up. Unfortunately, while these errors may not be repeated, the issue with chlidren being put on Medicaid or CHP+ plans and affecting subsidies is real.

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Healthcare.gov processed an application I did not submit

Is There A Problem Here?: Healthcare.gov processed an application I did not submit.

Furthermore, the decision letter I received says that I have 10 days to appeal any decisions or I will be ineligible for coverage in the future. Now, they’ve put me in a position that I have to get Healthcare.gov and a state agency to collaborate to withdraw the application I never submitted.

I now have zero trust in Healthcare.gov.

Amateur hour.

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Analysis: Obamacare glitches scare off many Web site users

Analysis: Obamacare glitches scare off many Web site users.

The number of visitors to the federal government’s HealthCare.gov Web site plummeted 88 percent between Oct. 1 and Oct. 13, according to a new analysis of America’s online use, while less than half of 1 percent of the site’s visitors successfully enrolled for health insurance the first week.

Lookng at this graph, of the 9.7 million that visited the site, 271,00o successfully logged in. You can’t even look at plans and pricing at this stage. Will young invincibles, who are so important to Obamacare, tolerage a non-functional website?

Amateur hour and that’s being kind. Heck, prediction Chaos is being kind.

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Federal Exchange amateur hour is larger than the end user experience

Obamacare’s Federal Exchanges are Failing at Every Level – Hit & Run : Reason.com.

More then likely you have already read about all the issues the healthcare.gov end users are experiencing. Unfortunately, that is only a small part of this complex system. It also appears the information being transmitted to the actual insurance companies is bogus. Reason reports….

Here is one example from a carrier–and I have received numerous reports from many other carriers with exactly the same problem. One carrier exec told me that yesterday they got 7 transactions for 1 person – 4 enrollments and 3 cancelations.

For some reason the system is enrolling, unenrolling, enrolling again, and so forth the same person. This has been going on for a few days for many of the enrollments being sent to the health plans. It has got on to the point that the health plans worry some of these very few enrollments really don’t exist.

The reconciliation system, that reconciles enrollment between the feds and the health plans, is not working and hasn’t even been tested yet.

So far, healthcare.gov has documented issues with it’s web interface to the public and it’s interface with health carriers. Take a look at the flowchart below and see how many other communication interfaces that need to work flawlessly for healthcare.gov to operate as expected.

 

Anatomy of Obamacare flowchart

 

 

 

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