State exchanges facing glitches, technical problems

It's not only the federally-run health insurance exchanges that are facing snags and technical glitches in their attempt to open for enrollment on Oct. 1. State-based exchanges are facing a slew of problems too, with the online marketplace in Washington, D.C., handling the biggest setback so far.

The exchange, called the DC Health Link, is delaying two key functions--calculating consumers' eligibility for Medicaid and calculating the size of any federal subsidies that consumers can receive.

"There is one part of the system that our testing indicated was not working right and we did not want to take any chances that it would give incorrect information," Richard Soriano, spokesman for the DC exchange, told McClatchy newspapers.

Mila Kofman, executive director of the DC exchange, made the final decision to delay the functions because tests were giving incorrect eligibility information 15 percent of the time. "Even one person getting incorrect information is bad, so I decided not to deploy that until all of that is accurate," she told Politico.

"None of this is going to really impact consumers," she added. "As long as consumers get enrolled, pay their premium by Dec. 15, their coverage is going to be effective Jan. 1."

Elsewhere, Colorado's exchange, called Connect for Health Colorado, also won't be able to calculate federal subsidies when it opens Oct. 1 because officials weren't "completely satisfied" with the accuracy of the calculations, Ben Davis, an outside spokesman for the exchange, told Reuters. "There are 100,000 scenarios they want to test for," including various combinations of income and family situations, "and it takes X amount of time. We just did not have enough time to test."

Marketplace officials will take another two weeks to conduct testing, ensuring calculations are accurate while consumers can call customer service representatives to do the calculations for them manually.

And the Oregon exchange said some health plans are inaccurate on a test site, causing misinformation like incorrect deductibles. "We are in a validation process with our carriers," Executive Director Rocky King told Reuters.

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

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