Tuesday, November 17, 2015

ACA/Obamacare: Trouble in Paradise -or- The Disconnect Between Hawaii Health Connector and Healthcare.gov

‘Hawaii residents are taking over an hour on average -- and as long as four hours for non-English speaking people -- to apply for Obamacare health coverage via the federal marketplace, healthcare.gov.

On Sunday, Obamacare coverage in Hawaii switched to the federal marketplace from the Hawaii Health Connector, the state-based exchange that is ending operations completely in 2016. The Connector is contracted by the state to assist people signing up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, but didn't have enrollment numbers as of Friday. A spokesman for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which oversees the federal exchange, said the government agency is not releasing enrollment figures at this time.

"Hawaii is at risk of being unable to process all re-enrollments. We are having significant challenges getting people enrolled on healthcare.gov," Jeff Kissel, the Connector's executive director, told board members at a meeting Friday. "Even if we put all the people we have on it we're not going to get done by Jan. 31. We told CMS we've got to have a contingency plan."

All of the roughly 40,000 Hawaii residents who got health insurance through the Connector must re-enroll on healthcare.gov as policies will not be automatically rolled over to the federal exchange. If a policyholder does not re-enroll, coverage will end Dec. 31. The 2016 enrollment period closes Jan. 31.

One of the major problems hindering enrollment is that automated identity verification is not working on healthcare.gov, Kissel said.’

Average enrollment time for individuals is taking about one hour and 15 minutes, while the time for those signing up over the phone through the federal call center is in excess of two hours, he said. - Hawaii Residents Face Long Delays In Applying For Health Coverage, insurancenewsnet.com, 11/07/2015

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