Thursday, October 3, 2013

Day 2: Consumers Shopping For Insurance On Exchanges Continue To Confront Delays, Challenges

Preface:  This material is from Kaiser Health News.   The British press reports that only 1% of those visiting sites are signing up.  It is too early to tell what this early online exchange news means.
Interest and demand appeared to overload websites and clog phone lines. Federal officials, who were taking steps to build additional capacity into the system, said traffic to the website exceeded expectations.
The New York Times: As Demand Stays High, Officials Try To Address Problems In Exchanges
Federal and state officials moved Wednesday to strengthen the computer underpinnings of the new online health exchanges, which proved inadequate to handle a flood of consumer inquiries that began as soon as the system opened on Tuesday and continued into the next day (Perez-Pena, Goodnough and Pear, 10/2)
The Associated Press/White House: Computer Glitches In Health Insurance Marketplace Signal Strong Demand For Coverage
Overloaded websites and jammed phone lines frustrated consumers for a second day as they tried to sign up for health insurance under the nation’s historic health care overhaul. That was putting pressure on the federal government and the states that are running their own insurance exchanges to fix the problems amid strong demand for the private insurance plans (10/3).
Kaiser Health News: On Day 2, Federal Insurance Marketplace Offers Mixed Bag Of Problems, But Also Successes
The federal online marketplace selling newly available health insurance in 36 states continued to frustrate consumers Wednesday with delays and software failures, although some reported success in signing up (Hancock, Evans, Galewitz, Gold and Rao, 10/2).
The Wall Street Journal: Health Insurance Website Still Sees Delays
Efforts to clear logjams in the federal health law's new online insurance marketplaces met with only modest success Wednesday, with strong traffic exacerbating waits and relatively few consumers able to enroll in policies during the system's second day. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of North Carolina, for one, said it was able to enroll only a single person in a subsidized health plan under the law by Wednesday afternoon (Martin, Weaver and Campo-Flores, 10/2).
Los Angeles Times: Glitches Continue To Plague Health Insurance Marketplaces
Obama administration officials attributed the problems to high traffic at the federal website — — which is the main portal for consumers in 36 states to select a health plan. Residents of the remaining 14 states, including California, Connecticut and Maryland, and the District of Columbia can use state-operated websites, many of which also continued to struggle to keep up with demand. Californians encountered computer problems and call-center hold times of more than 30 minutes. The Department of Health and Human Services reported Wednesday that there were 6.1 million unique visits to the federal website on the first day and a half after the site opened Tuesday (Levey, 10/2).
USA Today: High Volume Spurs Health Exchange System Crash
A high number of visitors to the new federal health insurance exchange site Wednesday caused the system to crash or cause prospective insurance customers to endure long waits. The Department of Health and Human Services has tried to limit the problems by changing how site visitors enter the site and reach details on how to shop for and buy insurance (Kennedy, 10/2).
Reuters: U.S. Government Scrambles To Provide Access To Obamacare Sites
The U.S. government on Wednesday scrambled to add computer capacity to handle an unexpectedly large number of Americans logging onto new online insurance marketplaces created under Present Barack Obama's healthcare reform law. Technical glitches and heavy traffic slowed Tuesday's launch of the marketplaces, particularly for the federal website serving 36 states (Morgan and Krauskopf, 10/2).
Tweet:  Health exchange websites are clogged on day 2 and are full of glitches, which the Obama administration told us to expect and are occurring as predicted.

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