Adding to the IT hiccups is the delay to the Spanish-language online enrollment tools. White House press secretary Jay Carney said the Spanish-language online portal “will come (online) sometime in October.” But he said about 70% of the Latino population will access HealthCare.gov through the English-language portal.
At least three state-run exchanges plan to delay the rollout of some online tools designed to help consumers as they enroll in insurance plans starting Tuesday.
Connect for Health Colorado moved back the release of its tax calculator tool, which determines whether an individual is eligible for a premium tax credit. It delayed the release until November to continue testing the service. Until then, the exchange's 200 customer service representatives will work with consumers.
Officials in Oregon and Washington state also have said there will be some delays in the rollout of certain online tools and services. While there has been concern that delays in exchange functionality could impact enrollment, others say early technological glitches should not be used as an indicator for how many Americans will enroll.
“I don't think en masse every uninsured person is going to go online Oct. 2 to sign up for insurance,” said John Edwards, director of PricewaterhouseCoopers' healthcare advisory practice. “I would caution (against) over-reading the early statistics, whether they are positive or negative.”
For the early adopters who log onto their state exchanges in October, they may face glitches in the websites or other challenges as exchange staff and insurers continue to test for and work out any problems in their systems, experts say. These systems must bring together a variety of data sources, including income, Medicaid eligibility and legal residency status.
A survey, released last week by KPMG, found that roughly one-third of insurance executives doubt the exchanges will be ready Oct. 1. But many states, including Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota and New Mexico—which all are running their own exchanges—say their exchanges will be fully operational this week.
Follow Jaimy Lee on Twitter: @MHjlee