Covered California Might Delay Full Functionality of Enrollment
On Wednesday, a California health insurance exchange official told participating insurers that Covered California might delay full functionality of online enrollment when the marketplace launches on Oct. 1, the Wall Street Journal reports (Wilde Mathews, Wall Street Journal, 8/22).
Background on Exchange
The exchange primarily will serve individuals and small businesses.
Supporters hope that the exchange will function similarly to websites like Amazon and Expedia so that users will be able to choose among various health plans through an easily navigable online store (California Healthline, 8/23).
Details of Exchange Official's Comments
Oscar Hidalgo -- a spokesperson for Covered California -- said that the exchange is in the final phases of testing its computer system and should know by early September whether it will need to delay individuals' ability to enroll themselves in a health plan (Wolfson, Orange County Register, 8/22).
He said that currently it is "completely premature to assume the level of functionality" of the online enrollment system (Wall Street Journal, 8/22).
However, Hidalgo said that exchange officials are "very confident" that the system will be "fully functional" by October. He added that officials "have not run into any major issues that we couldn't repair or overcome" during testing (Orange County Register, 8/22).
If the system cannot accommodate consumers seeking to purchase plans on their own by the launch date, Covered California would implement an "aided enrollment" process in which counselors would help residents sign up for coverage over the phone or in person (Krauskopf, Reuters, 8/22).
"So if everything is not ready on Oct. 1, nothing is lost," Hidalgo said, adding, "We never contemplated that a lot of people would be self-enrolling Oct. 1 anyway" (Orange County Register, 8/22).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.