Administration Delays Yet Another Key Component of Health Law’s Implementation

August 28, 2013

Another Day, Another Obamacare Delay

Another day, another delay by the Obama administration as it scrambles to implement the president’s health care law prior to October 1. Reuters reports, “The Obama administration has delayed a step crucial to the launch of the new health care law, the signing of final agreements with insurance plans to be sold on federal health insurance exchanges starting October 1.” Delays have become commonplace in the health law’s implementation, revealing that after three and a half years, the administration’s signature law is still not ready for prime time. Reuters detailed the implications of the latest delay, reporting, “Coming at a time when state and federal officials are still working to overcome challenges to the information technology systems necessary to make the exchanges work, some experts say that even a small delay could jeopardize the start of the six-month open enrollment… ‘It makes me wonder if open enrollment can start on October 1,’ said a former administration official who worked to implement Obama’s health care reform.” As implementation stumbles forward, previous warnings about the law are becoming a reality, leaving families and businesses with more costs, limited coverage, and a mess of confusion.  

August 28, 2013

Exclusive:  U.S. delays deadline for finalizing Obamacare health plans

The Obama administration has delayed a step crucial to the launch of the new healthcare law, the signing of final agreements with insurance plans to be sold on federal health insurance exchanges starting October 1.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) notified insurance companies on Tuesday that it would not sign final agreements with the plans between September 5 and 9, as originally anticipated, but would wait until mid-September instead, according to insurance industry sources.

Nevertheless, Joanne Peters, a spokeswoman for HHS, said the department remains "on track to open" the marketplaces on time on October 1.

The reason for the hold-up was unclear. Sources attributed it to technology problems involving the display of insurance products within the federal information technology system.

Peters said only that the government was responding to "feedback" from the companies, "providing additional flexibility and time to handle technical requests."

Coming at a time when state and federal officials are still working to overcome challenges to the information technology systems necessary to make the exchanges work, some experts say that even a small delay could jeopardize the start of the six-month open enrollment period.
 

U.S. officials have said repeatedly that the marketplaces, which are the centerpiece of President Barack Obama's signature healthcare reform law, would begin on time.

But the October 1 deadline has already begun to falter at the state level, with Oregon announcing plans to scale back the launch of its own marketplace and California saying it would consider a similar move. …

Read the complete story online here.

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