by CAROLINE GAVURA Section Editor
The Obama administration has finally made some improvements on the Healthcare.gov website, which allows the American public to enroll in health insurance plans. Hopefully, with the new changes, millions of Americans will be able to purchase insurance policies from private companies on new insurance exchanges by December 23.
The website was supposed to be ready by October 1, but because of technical difficulties, only a few people could actually compare policies and sign up for a plan. Through a frantic repair effort during the past few weeks, the process has been largely corrected, but it still needs some work.
On November 30, the White House sent out a progress report on how the system has improved. The administration explained that the website is running smoothly for a majority of users, now working 90 percent of the time, rather than in October when it was only working 60 percent of the time.
The report also estimated that the website could support 50,000 users at once, spending about 20 to 30 minutes on the site, and 800,000 visits in total a day. Currently, the site is only operating in 36 states, while the others have to create their own exchanges. Some of these state-run exchanges are working better than the federal ones, while others are doing worse.
“At this point, you might as well just get an exchange through your state rather than the federal government! It’s more convenient and will probably actually work, rather than the healthcare.gov website, which is sad. The Obama administration needs to get itself together and fix these issues,” said junior Michelle Barclay.
The biggest challenge the administration faces is to upgrade the system to transfer information to insurance companies so they can complete the enrollment process. The deadline to sign up for the policies is January 1, leaving only three weeks to figure out a solution to the problem.
In some cases, insurers have no record of some people who think they have signed up for the plans, and some say they have not been told what subsidies a customer will get and what premium will be paid by the customer.
The government has not shared many details on how many people have enrolled, and the administration has said it will only release data from the site on a monthly basis. Officials have even refused to give details about the problems the government is having with transferring information to insurance companies from customers.
“The government is being really suspicious about what is really going on with the Affordable Health Care website. They need to figure out a quick fix to the technical problems the site is having; otherwise, the American people are going to become extremely frustrated,” said junior Christa Tomasulo.
With all these issues going on with the new website, the Obama administration is trying to focus on the positives of the President’s health plan.
“While work continues on the website, we think it is important that proponents of health reform undertake a renewed effort to refocus the public on the benefits of the law that have already been implemented,” a White House official told CNN.
Do you think Healthcare.gov will be fixed in time?