Insurance Marketplace Fiascos: Benefitter Suggests Patience

We’ve all seen the inauspicious first day of the state and federal Health Insurance Marketplaces. Colossal opening-day failures make catchy headlines:

USA Today: Traffic surges, glitches mark exchanges [1]
NBC News: Obamacare is here and so are the glitches [2]

However, things will get better over the coming weeks. The Marketplaces are massive technical and legislative undertakings. Our advice to customers is “give the system some time.” Benefitter will vigilantly survey the market, and guide customers toward the best possible health coverage when the public systems have stabilized.

Most industry experts — including Benefitter — are not surprised by marketplace technical problems, given the artificially high traffic to state and federal Marketplace websites. A large wave of bystanders, including many from the insurance industry, flew into the Marketplaces. Many not genuinely looking to purchase health insurance, but interested in what the systems look like. Then there are the eager buyers flooding in as well. Together, these groups have overwhelmed the technical infrastructure.

Historical precedents such as the implementation of Medicare Part D have shown us that these problems are expected. “On New Year’s Day 2006, computers couldn’t talk to each other properly. Seniors ended up on endless phone holds. It took several months to work out many of the kinks,” writes NPR correspondent Julie Rovner.

Over the next several weeks, many of the technical glitches related to enthusiastic opening day traffic should be fixed. Politicians will continue to haggle over the success and failure of the rollout, and all the while the systems will slowly improve.

In the meantime, we at Benefitter continue to take care of our customers. We help insurance brokers and employers navigate the Affordable Care Act, and guide employees who are not eligible for employer-sponsored group health insurance through the individual coverage enrollment process. And through all of the Healthcare Reform turbulence, we stay abreast of the issues so our customers don’t have to. Once the glitches are ironed out, we’ll guide our customers toward the best possible enrollment approach.

If you’re wondering about how your company should navigate Healthcare Reform, contact Benefitter, and we’ll have you covered.