health insurance

State healthcare websites are lagging behind

Even though they tried to catch the people falling from the federal website, the state healthcare websites are lagging behind now. I guess a few states thought they could do a better job at the complex healthcare website business and found out the hard way that it isn’t so easy.

State healthcare websites are lagging behind

Home-grown exchanges in such places as Kentucky and California worked relatively smoothly, but in other states, including Oregon and Maryland, the insurance portals looked as bad as, or worse.

The federal site has been in better shape since its Dec. 1 reboot. The same can’t be said for some of the states trying to repair their own malfunctioning sites. Cover Oregon has resorted to an analog solution, taking applications offline with paper applications. (A beta site that brokers can use opened Feb. 18 to mixed reviews.) The exchanges in Maryland and in Massachusetts—the state that was the model for the Affordable Care Act’s reform—have also been plagued with problems.

Now after the failure of a few of these websites, Congress is looking into what happened to the taxpayer money that was spent building these failed sites. Of course, the money is long gone now.

Congressional Republicans are calling for probes of the failures in these three blue states, which together were awarded more than $500 million since 2010 to establish new insurance marketplaces, according to grant data from the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, the federal agency in charge of the portals. More than half of that went to Oregon, which in turn spent $40 million to hire contractor Oracle (ORCL).

Nationally, 3.3 million people have enrolled through both state and federal exchanges. That’s more than half of the 6 million the Congressional Budget Office now expects to buy plans this year.(read more here)

Those numbers don’t count the number of people who didn’t go through the exchanges, so they could be a lot closer than what the federal government expected. There is also an expectation that a large number will get in before the gates close on March 31st. All in all, the target of 6 million that many congressmen said would never be met is not true and seems to be easily obtainable.

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