Obama administration worried over paper applications when healthcare.gov problems persisted

Published on November 6, 2013 at 1:49 AM · No Comments

A myriad of issues related to enrolling people in the health law's insurance marketplaces include new revelations that officials worried that allowing people to fill out paper applications for coverage on the federal marketplace would bring its own problems. Other issues examined include the roles of exchange call centers, "navigators," and other paid or volunteer workers.

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire: Obamacare Notes Show Worries About Pushing Paper Applications
Top health officials worried that encouraging people to fill out paper applications for insurance after they couldn't sign up through the troubled HealthCare.gov website wouldn't get them coverage any faster, but they gave in as the site's troubles persisted, internal meeting notes released Monday show (Radnofsky, 11/4).

CBS News: WH Docs: Paper Application For Obamacare Were Problematic, Too
While the Obama administration last month worked on resolving issues with HealthCare.gov, it had concerns that it was misleading consumers by suggesting they'd make more progress signing up for an Obamacare insurance plan with a paper application, documents recently turned over to Congress show. "The paper applications allow people to feel like they are moving forward in the process and provides another option; at the end of the day, we are all stuck in the same queue," the notes from an Obama administration meeting on Oct. 11 say. The notes were turned over to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, one of the multiple congressional committees investigating the botched HealthCare.gov rollout and the ongoing implementation of the Affordable Care Act (Condon, 11/4).

McClatchy: White House Defends Use Of Alternatives For HealthCare.Gov
The Obama administration on Monday defended its request that consumers frustrated with the malfunctioning HealthCare.gov website apply for coverage by phone after it emerged that customer service operators must still use the troubled website to assist callers. The issue flared up at Monday's White House news briefing after ABC News reported that an Oct. 11 memo from the Department of Health and Human Services claimed that all applications -- whether submitted by phone, paper or online -- are processed through the HealthCare.gov website, which serves as the entry portal for the federal health insurance marketplace (Pugh and Kumar, 11/4).

Kaiser Health News: Call Centers Got Big Contracts From Health Law, But How Big Is Unclear
Before the Affordable Care Act was even open for enrollment, Viviana Alvarado was already taking calls from people who wanted to know more. She and about 40 of her colleagues are answering the phones for Maximus, the company Connecticut contracted to run its call center. The contractors running the troubled federal healthcare.gov website have been under intense scrutiny in the past month, but those businesses aren't the only ones being paid to roll out Obamacare (Cohen, 11/5).

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