Exchanges still struggle with technical problems

Although the Obama administration has been working non-stop the last three weeks to fix the technical problems associated with the federal health insurance exchanges, new issues keep creeping up that prevent consumers from accessing the online marketplaces.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services fixed problems that kept consumers from creating accounts and starting the enrollment process, but consumers still are seeing error messages and other obstacles on the marketplace website, Reuters reported.

Dan Schuyler, a director at Leavitt Partners, believes two issues--consumer volume and the site's platform design--are at the heart of the problem. But since HHS is hardly speaking to the media right now, "only the contractors and HHS know" the real problem, he told USA Today.

Most experts estimate HHS has until mid-November to solve these technical problems if the agency is to meet its goal of signing up 7 million new consumers by March. "That's 39,000 enrolled a day, and we're not seeing anywhere near that volume," Schuyler said. "If they don't get it fixed within two or three weeks, we may have a backlog of consumers who won't be able to enroll by January 1."

So far, insurers haven't been sharing their reactions to the exchange problems. "The reality is there's nothing you can say to a reporter in October that's going to make [HHS] work that much harder to fix it," one insurer source told Politico on condition of anonymity. But if technical snags start damaging insurers' brands, the source said insurance companies likely will begin talking.

To learn more:
- see the Reuters article
- read the USA Today article
- check out the Politico article

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