on October 24, 2013 by admin in Insurance Industry, Comments (0)

Insurance industry aware of Obamacare website problems before launch

(CNN) - The nation's top health insurers were well aware of the technical problems plaguing the application process on the Obamacare website prior to its October 1 launch, an industry insider told CNN.

"Yes. Of course we did," the source said in an e-mail.

The source said people involved in the creation of the on-line application feature of healthcare.gov that links consumers to insurers clearly downplayed the site's flaws.

That component is now the main source of frustration for potentially millions of Americans attempting to purchase insurance through the Obamacare site.

"It’s clear the folks working on this in the administration gave a far rosier picture to people in the White House," the insider said. "No one wanted to go to the White House and say to the president that your signature legislative achievement may not go so well."

Officials with the nation's insurance plans were involved in the testing of the site, the industry source told CNN.

"As involved as you can be," the insider said. "Significant issues came up," the source added prior to the site's launch.

The insurers are a key player in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act as they are selling policies that are purchased on the site, then processing consumers' enrollment files.

Among the technical problems detected prior to October 1 were the "front-end issues," the source said, pointing to the trouble many consumers have had setting up accounts.

But the problems go further.

The source pointed to the enrollment files now being received by insurers that are sometimes incomplete, contain erroneous information, or arrive in duplicates.

That puts the companies in the position of potentially rejecting enrollees due to errors that originated on the web site.

In the weeks since healthcare.gov's application feature went live, insurance companies have observed consumers are successfully signing up for coverage. But the insider could not put an exact count on enrollees.

"People are enrolling, yes," the source said.

Top industry executives visited the White House Wednesday to meet with top Obama administration officials, including Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Chief of Staff Denis McDonough to discuss the challenges in repairing health care.gov.

"That was part of reason for this meeting," the insider told CNN. "They wanted to hear from the CEO's themselves what is really happening and what needs to be done."

In an interview with CNN, Sebelius said Obama was unaware of the site's problems prior to its launch.

White House officials have repeatedly cautioned they do not believe the President was intentionally left in the dark by HHS officials.

"We did not know until the problems manifested themselves after the launch that they would be as significant as they have turned out to be," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Wednesday.

Article source: http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2013/10/23/insurance-industry-aware-of-obamacare-website-problems-before-launch/

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