Report: Md. Health Exchange Glitch May Cost $30.5M

More state level Obamacare trouble, this time in Maryland (Part 1). A severe flaw in the state’s already defective healthcare exchange may cost the state $30.5 million. It seems the exchange can’t translate income information (from current data) to calculations required to check whether Medicaid enrollees are qualified. Yet, Maryland plans to remain with the exchange, at least through  through the open enrollment period that ends March 31. As for the current Medicaid enrollment system, one alternative being proposed is for the state to adopt Connecticut’s system. However, that may take anywhere from nine to twelve months – pushing up against the next open enrollment.

While improvements have been made, computer problems remain entrenched. A 31-page report by Maryland budget analysts says that “there is significant uncertainty about the way forward” with future information technology spending that will be needed. The state cites a state report covering “architectural flaws” in the system.

Read more at the Washington Post

Target Sends Part-Time Workers to Obamacare

Retail store chain Target Corp. is dropping its health care plan for part-time workers, citing low participation and saying its workers will be better off applying for coverage under the Obamacare insurance exchanges.
In a blog post Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, the Minneapolis-based retailer said it will ease the transition by doling out a $500 cash payment to each employee who loses coverage.

Read more at The Washington Times

Glitchy State-Run Obamacare Sites Hitting ‘Hurdle After Hurdle’

Online Obamacare state-run enrollment operations in Maryland, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Oregon, have struggled with technological difficulties and low sign-up levels. Many top executives have been replaced. A few states such as California and New York have been more successful with relatively smooth rollouts.

More than 2 million people visited the federal healthcare.gov site on Dec. 23, ahead of a deadline to sign up for insurance coverage that starts Jan. 1. Thirty-six states are using the federal portal. The remaining 14 and the District of Columbia have built their own marketplaces.

Some of the states’ missteps mirror that of the federal government’s website. Like healthcare.gov, Oregon built its exchange without hiring an outside information-technology firm, known as a systems integrator, to organize the project.

Read More at Newsmax

Despite Website Fixes, Fears Grow that Obamacare Numbers Don’t Add Up

The Obama administration was hoping to have 7 million people enrolled in health insurance through HealthCare.gov in the “Obamacare” system, but at the current rate that won’t be possible, according to some experts who have crunched the numbers.

“We’re looking at 1 million people signed up in the amount of time they’re expecting,” reporter Rebecca Jarvis said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

And if that pool is dominated by older people, Jarvis noted, premiums in 2015 could skyrocket.

Read More at Newsmax

Obamacare Failures Leaving Democrats Very Vulnerable in 2014

The disastrous Obamacare rollout has cast a dark shadow over Democrats across America, and particularly in New Hampshire, which many consider “ground zero” in a political war that’s approaching.

The congressional delegations’ three Democrats face angry constituents and find themselves torn between remaining loyal to the White House and dealing with the politican fallout fro the healthcare reform bill.

Affected politicians include New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, Rep. Ann McLane Kuster and Rep. Carol Shea-Porter.

Read More at Newsmax

Administration: 106,000 Enrolled in Health Insurance in First Month of HealthCare.gov

About 106,000 Americans signed up for health plans in the first month of new state and federal insurance marketplaces, the Obama administration reported Wednesday, November 13, 2013. Just a quarter of the insurance enrollments were in the federally run marketplace, while the rest were in the state exchanges.

The small figure was far below what the administration had hoped for and had predicted. Public and congressional frustration continues to escalate as the Obamacare program’s problem-plagued rollout continues and the White House seeks a solution.

Another problem has arisen from people whose individual policies are being canceled because they do not comply with the new coverage rules.

Read More at the Washington Post

Orrin Hatch to Newsmax: Obamacare Problems ‘Worse by the Day’

Sen. Orrin Hatch, in an interview with Newsmax TV on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013, claimed that testimony by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius confirmed that “Obamacare’s implementation challenges are getting worse by the day.”

After noting the huge number of delays, errors, and faulty information plaguing the Obamacare website, Hatch, 79, the longest-serving Republican in the Senate, called for monthly progress reports on the program and demanded enrollment figures during testimony Health and Human Services Secrtary Kathleen Sebelius.

Sebelius also admitted that convicted felons might have been hired as Obamacare “navigators” — a job that would give them access to the personal information of people signing up for healthcare coverage. The federal government does not require background checks for the navigators, she said.

“There’s no guarantee that the data being submitted over HealthCare.gov is 100 percent secure,” Hatch said

Hatch also noted that many people can’t retain their favorite doctors, and that “If you get kicked off your health insurance and dumped into the exchanges, the chances of you being able to find an affordable plan that has your personal doctor in its network are not looking good. The fact is that it’s a disaster.”

Read More at Newsmax

White House Tries to Reassure Democratic Lawmakers About Obamacare

As reelection battles approach, Democrats worry that they must explain Obamacare’s Healthcare.gov website failures while they hope that the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, will soon appear.

Sixteen Senate Democrats met with President Obama on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013, to urge that he fix the foundering healthcare website, warning of a “crisis of confidence” if he doesn’t act quickly.

The president’s team acknowledged struggling with how to present its message to the public, but some senators left the meeting more concerned that there were no immediate fixes forthcoming more than a month after healthcare.gov went live.

Read More at the Los Angeles Times

Price for Failed Obamacare Website: $394 Million and Counting

Programmers involved in building the Obamacare health insurance website explain how they saw the failure of the system coming months in advance. It is a complex system put together by harried programmers who pushed out a final product that congressional investigators said was tested by the government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and not private developers with more expertise. It was also reported that the Obama administration also was aware Healthcare.gov would collapse because of high traffic on the site, but the administration demanded an Oct. 1, 2013 rollout anyway.

The U.S. government has spent more than $394 million to build the federal healthcare exchange and data hub.

Read More at Newsmax

Insight: As Obamacare Tech Woes Mounted, Contractor Payments Soared

As U.S. officials warned that the technology behind Obamacare might not be ready to launch on October 1, 2013, the administration was pouring tens of millions of dollars more than it had planned into the federal website meant to enroll Americans in the biggest new social program since the 1960s.

A Reuters review of government documents shows that the contract to build the federal Healthcare.gov online insurance website tripled in potential total value to nearly $292 million as new money was assigned to the work beginning in April this year.

The increase coincided with warnings from federal and state officials that the information technology underlying the online marketplaces, or exchanges, where people could buy Obamacare was in trouble.

Read More at Reuters