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IT Technology

HealthCare.gov Back-End Status: See You In September 251

Posted by Soulskill
from the later-than-sooner dept.
theodp writes: "The consumer-facing parts of the Obamacare website may now work (most of the time) for people buying insurance, writes Politico, but beneath the surface, HealthCare.gov is still missing massive, critical pieces that are essential for key functions such as accurately paying insurers — and the deadline for finishing them keeps slipping. Without a fully built and operational system, federal officials can't determine how many of the 8 million Obamacare sign-ups announced last week will have actually paid their premiums. The Obama administration earlier this month indicated that insurers will continue to be paid through an 'interim' accounting process — pretty much a spreadsheet and some informed estimates — until at least September, when what is being called 'the mother of all reconciliations' will be conducted, which some fear could reveal the need for a massive correction and rate adjustments. Still, Oregon decided Friday to switch to Healthcare.gov from its own nothing-wrong-that-$78-million-couldn't-fix Cover Oregon online healthcare exchange."
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HealthCare.gov Back-End Status: See You In September

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  • by Vinegar Joe (998110) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @05:03PM (#46849879)

    At this point, what difference does it make?"

    • Consult your accountant for disappointing tax news. If you don't know from where that blood's to be extracted, it's your flesh.
    • Indeed. This makes little difference in the actual outcome. The accounting will take a little longer to set up correctly, but the costs will not change. Argue that as long as you like, I'll judge it in a year or so.

      But this plan, to manually estimate the payments and do the complete reconciliation later? I'm shocked, shocked... except no, yawn, this is how it's done with most of the health insurance industry. I know, I do this for a living.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @05:29PM (#46850051) Journal
    True, clueless politicians made last minutes changes like, "don't show them raw premium, sticker shock, make them do subsidy calculation first" a week before roll out. True, dimwitted bureaucrats gave out contracts with idiotic levels of fragmentation and blame-dodgeability. Obama raised expectations insanely by saying "as easy as buying books in Amazon..".

    But despite all of it, what the crack team of unsung IT gurus did in Nov 2013 is nothing less than heroic. How long did it take for the comparable services like Amazon, Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL, gmail, eBay etc to create 3 million accounts? OK, that is an earlier generation. Take the current generation of Twitter, WhatsApp, SnapChat, FaceBook, how long did they take to ramp up to 3 million accounts?

    Helathcare.gov is something like eBay for health insurance. How long did it take eBay to refer 32 billion dollars worth of business? (8 million accounts, 4 K a year premium per person). No body had done in two quarters. Even banking and mutual fund sites like Schwab, Vanguard, Fidelity do not do 32 billion dollars a year. Even if the do, they did not ramp up in 2 quarters.

    They bungled the roll out. They probably squandered tons and tons of money to get it done. But despite all that, no body has ever created a web site that did what Healthcare.gov has done. It is easy to criticize and do Monday morning quarterbacking. But the task they failed to well was not some simple task any hack could do or something others have done before.

    • by EmperorArthur (1113223) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @05:48PM (#46850109)

      I'm not saying the website isn't a big deal, but how many of those websites had the kind of advertising push that this one did? Plus, there's the whole fine if you don't have health insurance thing, and old insurance plans being canceled.

      Half of the original problem with the website was the overuse of "Web 3.0" and not showing customers what they wanted to see without them creating an account beforehand. A few static pages on a high volume server could have prevented most of the embarrassing problems the original site had.

      Actually my largest gripe is the site has a login E-Mail, and a separate E-mail for something else. The problem is the separate E-mail rejects anything that's not yahoo, google, hotmail, etc... It's really frustrating since they don't restrict the login E-mail.

      • by artor3 (1344997)

        I'm not saying the website isn't a big deal, but how many of those websites had the kind of advertising push that this one did?

        While that is true, there was also an equally large advertising push trying to convince people not to enroll. That's something that Twitter and Facebook never had to confront.

    • by blackraven14250 (902843) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @05:50PM (#46850115)

      Obama raised expectations insanely by saying "as easy as buying books in Amazon..".

      Having actually used the website (in March, long after it was fixed from early issues), it's pretty much on the same level as Amazon. They have all the information you need to make an informed purchase, including links to each insurance company's list of providers and covered medications. There might be plenty of arguments about big vs. small government and continuing problems with the back end, but they definitely have a very user-friendly interface.

      • by l0ungeb0y (442022) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @06:30PM (#46850247) Homepage Journal

        Being self-employed, my biggest issue is the near TRIPLING of my insurance costs.
        Most people, having their insurance paid for by their employer don't see this, and don't care.

        However, my biggest gripe about the "Affordable Care Act" is just how UNAFFORDABLE it has made my health care, and how I am now paying nearly as much for a SHIT TIER BRONZE PLAN as I was for what would be comparable to a Gold Plan.

        The only upside is I claim that added insurance cost -- oh but wait, that will certainly put me over the $5,000/year write-off limit on my 1040SE, so I have to fill out additional paperwork for my end of the year tax write-offs. BONUS!

        Frankly, ObamaCare is the Worst of All Worlds and I will be surprised if it hasn't turned into a complete Consumer Raping within 10 years a la the California Free Energy Market.

        • by Bartles (1198017) on Saturday April 26, 2014 @06:43PM (#46850305)
          I'm self-employed and got completely fucked over like you did. 255% increase with a reduction in benefits, in my case.
        • I wonder for how much of that is Obamacare to be blamed, and how much guilt actually goes to the general medical-legal-social culture of the US, where incredible extra costs for things much cheaper just about everywhere else in the world seem to be jumping at you like dwarves leaping from holes in the ground. (OK, the dwarves don't really do that, but the extra costs apparently do.)
          • by Ksevio (865461)
            The entire cost of litigation is peanuts compared to the overall costs of healthcare. That's partially why it didn't make it into the ACA (why go to all that effort to save a couple billion dollars a year?).

            My money is more on the insurance companies using it as an excuse to jack up their rates. If Obamacare was repealed tomorrow, I really doubt the rates would go down.
        • by Livius (318358)

          It was always about the insurance companies.

          Anyone who was paying attention knew that.

        • by Artifakt (700173)

          There is no IRS form called a 1040SE. There is a Schedule SE that feeds into the regular form 1040, so maybe that's what you are talking about. The deductable limit for health insurance varies with self employed income and several other factors, and so has no set value, so I don't see what this "$5,000/year write off limit" is supposed to be. Are you saying that paying more than $5,000 per year specificaly for self employed health care forces the filer to do an additional form? (and are you claiming that g

    • True, clueless politicians made last minutes changes like, "don't show them raw premium, sticker shock, make them do subsidy calculation first" a week before roll out. True, dimwitted bureaucrats gave out contracts with idiotic levels of fragmentation and blame-dodgeability. Obama raised expectations insanely by saying "as easy as buying books in Amazon..".

      Of course, these are the reasons government-run health care will be so much better: politicians can control it and tell you how much better off you are.

    • Seriously, if all you need is a front end, and a DB to dump data, and aren't concerned about whether the data is consistent, accurate or anything, doing it in a month isn't very impressive. Especially since all the art and content was already made, they just needed to debug it (and drop the stuff that was too hard to fix).
    • by kenh (9056)

      Helathcare.gov is something like eBay for health insurance. How long did it take eBay to refer 32 billion dollars worth of business? (8 million accounts, 4 K a year premium per person). No body had done in two quarters. Even banking and mutual fund sites like Schwab, Vanguard, Fidelity do not do 32 billion dollars a year. Even if the do, they did not ramp up in 2 quarters.

      The size of the transaction isn't an issue, it's the number of transactions. After three years of planning, it took healthcare.gov 6 mont

  • ...of our corporate-controlled government.

    I'm sure the insurance companies have it set up so they make out like bandits no matter what happens.

    • ...of our corporate-controlled government. I'm sure the insurance companies have it set up so they make out like bandits no matter what happens.

      All the better reason to not force people to buy insurance from them.

    • ...of our corporate-controlled government.

      I'm sure the insurance companies have it set up so they make out like bandits no matter what happens.

      Well ... yeah. What better system could you ask for than a federal law that mandates that people buy your product, or else, especially when that "or else" includes fines and the IRS on your neck? And by the way, insurance companies can't pass laws, politicians have to do it for them. Thank you oh so much, Democrats.

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