Improvements coming to healthcare.gov

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Proverb: “Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones

GlassHousesYes, the healthcare.gov web site has had serious problems with its roll out, and criticism is both fair and warranted if it is meant to identify problems and to offer solutions on how to fix them.

But there are those who live in glass houses who are in no position to criticize. Case in point, the Arizona Daily Star which has the least user-friendly absolute worst piece-o'-crap web site I have to use, hands down. Who ever designed and manages the Star's piece-o'-crap web site should have been fired years ago. Can I get an Amen!

So the Star today, like so many other news organizations this week, assigned a reporter to open an account on healthcare.gov to see if they could complete the application. (Here's a thought: maybe if it wasn't for all these reporters signing on to healthcare.gov to do the same damn story, the system would not be so overloaded. Just sayin'.) Reporter among Tucsonans who find insurance sign-up problematic.

At least this reporter included some useful information way down in this narrative report, if anyone even bothered to read that far:

[Y]ou can still complete an application right now by selecting the following link to download a paper application:

http://marketplace.cms.gov/getofficialresources/publications-and-articles/publications-and-articles.html.
Choose the application that best fits your needs under “Marketplace
Consumer Application.”

You may also call the Marketplace
at 1-800-318-2596 for help with completing an application or to request a
paper application by mail.

You can keep trying to create an account online or you can call the
Marketplace at 1-800-318-2596. We can complete your application over the
phone, verify your eligibility and compare plans with you as well.

In addition, if you are wanting to browse the plans right now
without enrolling at this time, you can click on the link “See Plans
Now” on the Home Page at HealthCare.gov to see what plans are available
in the state you live in.

But you know what's missing from this report? Any explanation of how the Marketplace sorts applicants between those who are Medicaid (AHCCCS) eligible and those who are not — they will buy insurance on the Marketplace. I have not seen any reporting about the AHCCCS Health-e-Arizona Plus web site that I posted about earlier this week where you can also apply to get started. The Health-e-Arizona Plus web site is now live:

For those of you who may be experiencing problems with the HealthCare.gov Health Insurance Marketplace (the web site has now been revised and updated), you have another option.

Remember, your application is first reviewed to determine whether you
are Medicaid (AHCCCS) eligible. If you are, you will be enrolled in
AHCCCS. If not, you may purchase insurance at the Health Insurance
Marketplace. You can start the application process at the Health-e-Arizona Plus (HEAplus) web site.

* * *

There is also a Quick Start Application Toolkit
here
(.pdf).

The best reporting on the health insurance Marketplace is being done by the Washington Post and Ezra Klein's Wonkblog reporters, in particular Sarah Kliff. The Star would better inform its readers if it simply just published this reporting instead of engaging in silly-ass theater.

Our Tucson media is always looking for those "local angle" to national news stories to do. Here is one from Wonkblog's Lydia DePillis. What HealthCare.gov and the F-35 have in common. Healthcare insurance and Davis-Monthan AFB — a twofer!

The Post reports the team hired to fix the bugs in healthcare.gov hopes to have it done by the end of November. HealthCare.gov fixes won’t be done until end of November, adviser says:

Columbia-based Quality Software Services Inc., or QSSI — [is taking] over management of HealthCare.gov.

Jeffrey Zients,
a former administration official selected by the White House to assess
the extent of the online marketplace’s problems, told reporters the site
is “fixable.” But he offered a sobering picture of the problems left to
tackle, saying there are dozens of issues on a “punch list” that need
to be addressed.

* * *

“It will take a lot of work, and there are a lot of problems that need
to be addressed,” he said. “But let me be clear: HealthCare.gov is
fixable.”

Sarah Kliff at Wonkblog follows up on the Post report in Here’s the Obama administration’s plan to fix HealthCare.gov:

Health and Human Services hosted a call with reporters this afternoon in
which they gave one of the clearest run-downs of what is being done to
fix HealthCare.gov — and when that will happen. Here are three key takeaways from that briefing.

QSSI will lead efforts to fix the Web site. The technology firm will become a general contractor for the effort to
fix HealthCare.gov, overseeing a project that involves lots of other
contract companies.

* * *

[The] federal data hub that Bataille mentioned is a system that essentially
ferries data between different agencies and HealthCare.gov. This graphic
might also help explain what it is QSSI has been doing so far, which is
marked in red below.

WObamaCare_g1-391x800

The timeline for functionality: End of November. Jeff
Zients, a former administration official brought on to manage
HealthCare.gov improvements, repeatedly identified the end of November
as the point at which most consumers will be able to use the Web site
easily. This is the first time the Obama administration has given a
sense of when they expect the site to work better.

"We are confident by the end of the month of November HealthVare.gov
will operate smoothly for the vast majority of consumers," he said.

* * *

"Punch list" is the new "tech surge." Zients
repeatedly mentioned a "punch list" that contains "dozens" of issues
that Health and Human Services needs to fix. He thinks they fall into
two categories, performance issues and functionality issues.

"The first category are performance problems: Site speed, response
time reliability," Zients says. There are also functional problems:
"Bugs that prevent the software from working the way it's supposed to."

At the top of those punch list, Zients says, are issues with 834
files, the data that insurance plans get when someone uses
HealthCare.gov to enroll in their health insurance plan. Many report
that those forms are coming out garbled, with inaccurate information about who has signed up.

Sarah Kliff at Wonkblog also has this "Kliff Notes" video explanation. Obamacare’s tech problems, explained in two minutes. Now isn't this far more useful than the silly-ass narrative reporting in the Star?

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