Last-minute bugs plague Healthcare.gov pre-enrollment tests

With the next Affordable Care Act open enrollment period beginning in less than two weeks, both federal officials and insurance companies are struggling to solve some last-minute issues with new tools available on Healthcare.gov, according to the New York Times.

The issues come from new features that have been added to the site to make it easier for consumers to find insurance plans. 

The federal government claims that insurers did not submit their data in the correct format, the Times reports, while insurance companies say the government did not adequately test the tools, which are now giving incorrect results. Consumer groups say these tools could be very useful in terms of shopping for insurance, but the data must be reliable.

Even when officials and insurers find a suitable fix to a problem, they are finding that the solution to one problem creates a whole new set of issues for another, according to the article. For example, each physician or prescription drug gets its own identification number in the site upgrade, but there is now the issue of duplicate results. Some hospitals and clinics are being lumped together, so results are not always complete.

Healthcare.gov is no stranger to technical difficulties, given its rocky launch in 2013. And the fallout from the site's shortcomings continues, as a recent Office of Inspector General report found the government did not appropriately prepare to debut the online federal marketplace.

Yet a study in August noted that both state and federal health insurance marketplaces are getting better at guiding consumers' health insurance choices.

To learn more:
- read the New York Times article

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