Obamacare

HealthCare.gov still down through weekend

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution |

If you were thinking about using some of the weekend or the Veterans Day federal holiday on Monday to poke around on healthcare.gov, you can certainly go to the federal health insurance web portal, but you won’t be able to check whether you are eligible for subsidies from the federal government until Tuesday.

“We have been notified by the U.S. federal government that certain Federal Data Services associated with the Hub are down until Tuesday, November 12th,” read a message on the web site of the New York health exchange.

“During this time, you will be unable to receive a real-time determination of eligibility,” a similar warning said from the Vermont exchange.

“You may enter an application, but please save it and return on Tuesday to submit” the Vermont web site suggested.

The decision to take the subsidy check off line from the IRS came as the feds were making more changes to the troubled web site, trying to get it fully running by a self-imposed November 30 deadline.

Jeff Zients, the administration official in charge of cleaning up healthcare.gov told reporters Friday that at times the “system was very slow and sporadic” for users – adding that as bugs are fixed, those have shed light on new “storage, capacity and software application issues.”

In other words, it still isn’t working as designed.

And when the federal site isn’t working properly, it also hamstrings the 14 states and the District of Columbia, which have set up their own health exchange web sites – witness the warnings above from New York and Vermont.

At some point this week, we are expecting the first real numbers to be released by the feds on actual enrollment for health insurance; so far, officials have steadfastly refused to give any concrete numbers to lawmakers on sign ups.

Little tidbits have filtered out from insurance companies, which aren’t exactly breaking a sweat to count up all of the people who have registered for coverage.

“As of October 31, 2013, DC Health Link reported 3 members enrolled onto Kaiser Permanente QHPs (Quality Health Plans),” read a letter from Kaiser to two GOP Senators.

One other health insurer in the DC exchange reported two enrollments.

And with part of the web site not working for a few days, that certainly won’t boost enrollment numbers either.

Even with the short work week because of Veterans Day, there will be ample opportunity for lawmakers to address the Obama health law – the House will not only have a hearing on Wednesday on troubles at healthcare.gov, but Friday brings a vote on a GOP plan that would put the “if you like your insurance plan, you can keep it” pledge by President Obama into law.

Should make for an interesting few days.

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