AP: HealthCare.gov so Broken, Families Can't Add Newborns to Coverage
With the deadlines behind us, the first wave of Obamacare problems is, thankfully, over.
Unfortunately, this only means that the coming months will open up a whole new world of problems with HealthCare.gov, including the site's inability to place new babies under their parents' coverage.
The Associated Press is out with a report this morning that pregnant women have an entirely new set of headaches to expect from their ACA-triggered coverage, namely, that HealthCare.gov is not designed to accept any changes in status that would include or exclude a person from coverage. When a baby is born, there is no way for parents to notify the federal government that the baby now exists and needs coverage.
There is also no way to notify the federal government of marriage or divorce, of a death in the family, or of a new job or loss of a job.
The website allows one to open a profile, but not to edit it once an insurer is chosen. All of these changes could potentially affect those insured or open new options for coverage from different insurers or types of insurance. They may also result in higher premiums or more expensive coverage. These would all be options and possibilities if HealthCare.gov had any way of editing one's information on the page.
Many parents may not understand why the HealthCare.gov flaw matters – after all, the site's ostensible purpose is to link potential insurers to customers who want to buy insurance, and insurers make the process very easy. New parents can simply call up insurers and provide them with the baby's new information and expect to be covered. However, the way the Affordable Care Act is written, the government must be notified as well for the coverage to go through. They are written in as a necessary middleman, but there is no efficient way to comply with the need to keep the government updated.
The worst news in this story is not that babies may go undercovered or uncovered at all, but that the AP finds no indication that the government is working to fix the problem. Insurers interviewed for the piece say that they were initially told the fully-running HealthCare.gov would allow for easy changes in life that would be sent back immediately to insurers, erasing the problem of having to inform multiple sources of this change. However, that "got postponed" to "later." "Later" has not been given a date, and the best the AP could muster from an Obama administration spokesman was that the HHS Department is "working" on the problem.
This simple concern that the Affordable Care Act has managed to botch is the latest in a string of problems with the ACA website rollout. Finding an affordable plan, at its peak, was near impossible for people in half of America's counties. Of those who managed to find a plan, many have had significant trouble verifying the plans that customers had confirmed on HealthCare.gov, causing much confusion with individuals who need real-time care. Those fortunate enough to have had coverage before the mandate went into action flooded clinics and hospitals before the new year to use the coverage before it dissolved in the new year. While it is rare to find at least one Obamacare success story, it is even more difficult to find one it that has not come directly from Organizing for America or any number of White House-related organizations.