Health Insurance Exchange Challenges May lead to Rocky Start

Health Insurance Exchange Challenges May lead to Rocky Start

As we’ve followed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act over the last several years, there have been constant updates and course corrections along the way. As we approach October 1, 2013 one of the key components the Health Insurance Exchange is set to open, allowing individuals who are currently uninsured to purchase health plans, with so many health insurance exchange challenges still existing what can we expect in October?

health insurance exchange challenges

In Testimony to a Republican-controlled oversight panel in the House of Representatives, Brett Gram of the Leavitt Partners group provided some key insight to where we stand with the health insurance exchange. Leavitt Partners is headed by former Utah Governor, Health and Human Services Secretary, Michael Leavitt. Leavitt Partners is a group currently involved in the design and development of some state health insurance exchanges. According to Graham testimony we know the following:


  • “At this moment, not a single state appears to be completely ready,” according to Graham, states should be capable of providing “baseline functionality” when enrollment begins in three weeks, but caution there will be a very rocky start. “Most, if not all, exchanges will experience a rocky enrollment period as they work to overcome both known and unknown operational challenges.”
  • In August the Inspector General of the Health and Human Services provided a memo warning that several federal IT systems requirements were months behind on security testing, and several key dates had been pushed back to as late as September 30, 2013.
  • However, Michael Finkel executive president of QSSI told lawmakers on Tuesday that the data hub completed a security risk assessment on Aug. 30 and should be on track for certification.
  • Some states have decreased their initial scope of services and functionality to meet the October 1, 2013 launch dates. Some states have had to limit initial website access, opted for manual processing, limited customer assistance functionalities, as well as limiting foreign language access.

These are some of the many issues we have heard throughout the summer with setting up the exchanges and with days  remaining we are still unsure of which ones have been resolved and which issues are still open.

We have no doubt the administration will ensure the exchange will be open for enrollment on October 1, 2013 however we are still unsure of what functionalities will be available and how rough of  start it will have.

Download: Full Testimony of Brett Grahm

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