Administration says next marketplace enrollment season will have 'bumps'

Published on August 4, 2014 at 12:08 AM · No Comments

In a House hearing, the number two officials at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services responds to a critical GAO report and says while improvements to the federal online exchange are being made, it still "won't be perfect."

The New York Times: Work To Bolster Health Website Is Raising Cost, Officials Say
Obama administration officials said Thursday that the cost of the federal health insurance exchange was growing because they were assigning new work to contractors in an effort to prevent a repetition of the problems that crippled HealthCare.gov last fall. Andrew M. Slavitt, the No. 2 official at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told Congress that the agency was changing requirements for its contracts to expand the scope of work that must be done (Pear, 7/31). 

Politico: Questions Linger About Obamacare Website, Year 2
HealthCare.gov is expected to enroll millions of new people in Obamacare this fall and re-enroll millions more who signed up the first time around. It's likely a more demanding task than the one that it buckled under last year. Will it be up to the task? A top federal health official says yes -; with some "bumps." A top federal government investigator says maybe (Norman and Haberkorn, 7/31). 

The Fiscal Times: Healthcare.Gov Not Fully Ready For Round Two
Remember when HealthCare.gov was plagued with so many problems last fall that people could barely sign up? Well, after nearly a year of significant repair efforts pushing the website's price tag to roughly $840 million, HealthCare.gov still "won't be perfect" and isn't "fully ready" for next year's open enrollment, officials said Thursday. During a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing lawmakers grilled officials from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services about the website, the costs it has incurred over the last year, and its readiness for next year's enrollment process (Ehley, 7/31). 

CBS: There Will Be Some Bumps in Obamacare Enrollment This Year: Official
A top official at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) told House members Thursday that there will likely be more "bumps" next year in enrollment in the federal health exchange set up under Obamacare. "It won't be perfect," said Andrew Slavitt, who was recently appointed to join CMS -- the Health and Human Services agency that administers Obamacare -- as its principal deputy administrator (Bessler, 7/31).

Reuters: Next Obamacare Enrollment Period Faces Bumps: U.S. Official
U.S. consumers who purchase private health coverage through the federal Obamacare website HealthCare.gov are likely to find only modestly higher premiums but may still have technical problems signing up, a top health official said on Thursday. "It won't be perfect," Andrew Slavitt, a newly appointed principal deputy administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), told lawmakers at hearing before a House of Representatives oversight committee. ... However, Slavitt said the three-month 2015 open enrollment period that begins Nov. 15 will be under vastly different circumstances from HealthCare.gov's botched launch last October, when the website was overwhelmed by technical problems for weeks (Morgan, 7/31).

Kaiser Health News: Health On The Hill: House Panel Focuses 'Microscope' On Marketplace Open Enrollment
House members examined concerns raised in a GAO report about the healthcare.gov website during a subcommittee hearing Thursday. Kaiser Health News' Mary Agnes Carey and CQ Roll Call's Melissa Attias discuss the action (7/31). 

Additionally -

CQ Healtbeat: Health Law Reporting Could Spell Tax Season Headaches For Newly Insured
Tax preparers are anticipating confusion next year over new filing requirements stemming from the health care law following last week's release of draft forms by the Internal Revenue Service. The drafts posted on July 24 include a new form for recipients of federal subsidies to buy coverage through insurance exchanges and a modified income tax return that includes a line for individuals to indicate whether they met the law's coverage requirements. The accompanying instructions will be released separately and are not expected for another month or so, leaving an incomplete picture of exactly how the process will work. Even without all the details, however, the novelty and complexity of the forms are expected to pose a challenge to low and moderate income families receiving subsidies under the 2010 overhaul, according to tax preparation firms (Attias, 7/31).


http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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