Experts fear exchange glitches will worsen

We all know the launch of health insurance exchanges have been inundated with technical glitches and other problems that hindered the enrollment process. Industry experts now are worried those hitches may not only continue but also may worsen.

"If we are already running into issues at the user account stage, we're going to run into a lot more issues when we get to the more complex operations at the [subsidy] eligibility determination," Dan Schuyler, senior technology expert at Leavitt Partners, told Politico. "That's the reality. It's a very complex process, and I think it's going to get worse before it gets better."

One insurance executive who spoke with the New York Times on the condition of anonymity, said "these are not glitches" and "the extent of the problems is pretty enormous."

Additionally, some industry experts are questioning the accuracy of data provided by the federal government that the exchange saw about 7 million unique visits last week.

"I think that those who are claiming that the number indicates an early success of the program are full of sound and fury indicating nothing," a managed care industry executive, who requested anonymity, told CQ HealthBeat. The figure "is not a number that indicates anything reliable because it includes duplicate log-ins, people who lost connectivity, curiosity seekers, and the media," the executive added.

But not all industry experts predict doom and gloom for the exchanges. Drew Altman, president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, said federal officials always intended consumers would shop and become acquainted with the online marketplaces in October and wait to enroll until later. Although the delays aren't ideal, Altman told Politico "I never met a technical problem that didn't give everyone a migraine but wasn't eventually solved."

To learn more:
- read the Politico article
- see the New York Times article
- check out the CQ HealthBeat article

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