Since state insurance exchanges opened for enrollment earlier this month, they have run into a number of glitches. Covered California pulled its online directory of medical providers due to labeling mistakes, and grappled with other computer problems. We discuss what this means for those trying to get insured, and the insurance companies, in preparation for the rollout of Obamacare.

Lisa Aliferis, health editor for KQED News and editor of the State of Health blog
Dan Diamond, managing editor of "Daily Briefing," the Advisory Board's newsletter; and contributor to Forbes and California Healthline
Sabrina Corlette, research professor at the Health Policy Institute, Georgetown University
Dana Howard, Media & Public Affairs, Covered California

  • Marcos Athanasoulis

    I attempted to use the California Exchange just last week and had many problems. I am a CTO for a healthcare technology company and was disappointed in: 1) the confusing user interface 2) the constant crashing of the application (I had to try around 5 times to get through it). 3) I now theoretically enrolled, or so the website told me, but I have never received an email confirming this or telling me the next steps? Why not?

    In better news, the cost I was quoted was significantly lower than what I am paying now for the same level of coverage.

    Mill Valley

    • Churchlady320

      Yup. That is the point. You can call a Certified Enroller to confirm your application went through. You can also ask for snail mail confirmation.

  • toomanylawyers2

    It’s now coming to light that these are not “glitches”, they are fundamental errors in how just the web systems side of this law were architected. The federal government spent more than $600 million to build a website that doesn’t function well – it’s emblematic of how the rest of this law’s implementation is going to go – massively expensive, failing to deliver what was promised, and in the end will require more money to support. At what point will we recognize that the government fails at these kinds of projects?

    • Ron Ford

      Failed at Medicare and Social Security? Tell that to the millions of seniors who survive on these two government programs. In one year these whiners will be enrolled in ACA

      • toomanylawyers2

        Right, the govt is running these so successfully that Social Security will be bankrupt by 2020 and Medicare’s costs will overwhelm the federal budget. And while today’s seniors can barely “survive” if Social Security is all they have to retire on, today’s young people will not be able to rely on Social Security at all – without dramatic changes, it is not sustainable. Medicare is likewise an inter-generational transfer scheme that requires the young to pay for the old – exactly what ACA is. Wait until the young figure out that they are the suckers in the ACA game – I don’t think they’ll feel that altruistic about getting nothing but the bills for their parents’ and grandparents’ generations government.

        • Ron Ford

          You don’t really keep up with stuff. Social Security is good until 2038. Bush made sure it was funded.Medicare is not even close to having fiscal issues. Well not until the GOP and TP’ers continues to cut these programs. Maybe you should complain about the loss of 24 billion when Ted Cruz led the government shut down. He’s your man, right.

  • Selostaja

    Marcos’ comment was read on air but the last line was left out: that the cost quoted was significantly lower than his current coverage. I work for a very large organization that is about to upgrade to an operating system that is years behind current systems and is running into many problems. People who are accustomed using ever changing technology have come to expect crashes and glitches. Though frustrating, problems with the portal shouldn’t be confused with what’s on the other side of the door.

  • Churchlady320

    The Covered CA system is and has been working very well for every day but October 1. These are not “fundamental errors” at all. Healthcare.gov works well, too. Some people are finding problems at peak use time – just as one does trying to do anything at all in the private market. The jokes about being on eternal hold exist for a reason, and Covered CA and Healthcare.gov are under high demand. Off peak hours are the time to go.

    The issue of finding your doctor is for most people seeking coverage absolutely ludicrous – they’ve had NO insurance therefore no doctor. One seeking a change may have this issue, but I’ve already been kicked off the use of my doctor when Blue Shield refused to cover Sutter’s high costs. I had to move out of the entire system. Private employers dump insurance companies all the time leaving us to scramble to find new doctors and systems. That is why there are people to call. Everyone’s story is complex. This is NOT a cookie cutter project but a highly nuanced one tailored to individual and family needs.

    The rush to declare either the federal or state systems a failure is the hallmark of people just wanting to complain. When Apple crashed under its demand load, no one called Apple a failure. ACA has a very long window for application precisely understanding the load. The systems work. The program works, and to declare it a failure under the DEMAND is totally ridiculous.

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor