A little perspective on healthcare.gov

Healthcare.gov, and some of the states’ exchange websites, got off to a poor start, to put it mildly. But website woes that frustrate consumers are not unique to government. Those of private insurers exhibit them too! Witness the experience my step-father has had:

Beginning January 1, I will be retired, and will no longer have health insurance through my employer.  I have enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B, but want to enroll in a Medicare supplemental plan as well.  According to the rates now published for 2014, I can get the plan I want (Plan N) at the best price from Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of NJ.  So for the past month I have been going to the Horizon website, and calling its agents—to no avail.  The website and the agents continue to say “we cannot enroll now” in those plans, because “the website is being updated.” This is a company that has been selling these highly prescribed plans for years now.  This is the PRIVATE sector–with years of operational experience!  This is not the federal government cramming a complex development process into a compressed period for an initial launch.  Systems have problems, and the highly charged and politicized focus on the Obamacare launch and its problems obscures the fact that things always go awry at first . . .and sometimes for quite some time, even in the best of circumstances, and even in the private sector.

I’ll note that my mother experienced the same thing several years ago. I acknowledge these are anecdotes. Has anyone studied this, specific problem with (private!) Medicare supplement policies? Any relevant news reports?


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