Obamacare Website Won't be Perfect, Official Warns

Image: Obamacare Website Won't be Perfect, Official Warns

Wednesday, 27 Nov 2013 07:51 AM

By Melissa Clyne

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Hope for the best. Plan for the worst.

That's what the White House now is saying about HealthCare.gov, the Obamacare website whose rollout has been a disaster since it was unveiled Oct. 1, The New York Times reports.

The Obama administration has promised to have the website's problems fixed by Nov. 30.

“The system will not work perfectly,” said Jeffrey Zients, who has been charged with overseeing the repairs to the site. “To be clear, there are times that volume on HealthCare.gov will exceed capacity.”

The new bar set by the White House is that the system will work for “the vast majority of users.” Last month, President Barack Obama and administration officials said the site would be fully functional by the end of November.

Officials now say the site will be able to accommodate 50,000 users at a time, out of a U.S. population of 314 million people, 47 million of whom are uninsured, according to figures from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

On Oct. 1, the day of the Obamacare rollout, 4.7 million people visited the site.

Fearful that the site will again crash or fail, the White House is asking its allies, such as the Service Employees Credit Union and Enroll America, to hold off on helping drive traffic to HealthCare.gov until it’s known whether the site is working properly.

The Wall Street Journal reports that insurers are complaining that errors remain in the data they are receiving on new enrollees.

Meanwhile, the White House is appealing to states to expand Medicaid for lower-income Americans.

Consumers must enroll by Dec. 23 to obtain coverage that begins Jan. 1. The government predicts 75 percent of enrollees will qualify for subsidies. Only one-third qualified in the first month.

Some health experts predict that if too few young and healthy people enroll, an insurance death spiral will occur, resulting in skyrocketing premiums and out-of-pocket costs that would collapse the marketplace.

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, a Republican, lacks confidence in the Affordable Care Act’s ability to succeed.

“We haven't even started talking about paying claims, answering tough questions. This is just getting started," he said.

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