CMS tech officer: Roughly 30-40% of the ObamaCare exchange system still needs to be built — including the payment system

posted at 2:01 pm on November 19, 2013 by Allahpundit

Skip to 3:15 for the key bit. We’re 50 days removed from launch and Chao’s spent hours upon hours testifying about the website before Congress over the last few weeks. And somehow only now are we hearing about this.

Am I awake?

Two things as you watch. First, note that Chao’s talking about the entire online exchange apparatus here, not the front end of Healthcare.gov where people sign up. The front end is in place and being repaired, he says. It’s the back end that … hasn’t completely been built yet. Second, it sounds initially like he says 60-70 percent of that back end is missing, but then he appears to correct that in the last minute or so. I’ll be conservative and assume it’s the later number that’s accurate. Regardless: How does the enrollment process work if the payment system hasn’t been finished yet? Remember, even if you’re one of the chosen few who managed to complete the sign-up process, your coverage doesn’t take effect on January 1 unless you make your first premium payment by December 15. You could make that payment directly to the insurer, bypassing the federal website entirely, but some segment of people won’t do that, whether because of absent-mindedness or their understandable assumption that payment should be made through the same site they used to enroll — i.e. Healthcare.gov.

It’s not just enrollees and insurers who are having trouble with payment either:

Add insurance brokers to the list of people stymied by HealthCare.gov…

Brokers say their clients are having trouble entering the right ID numbers in the balky website — and that’s what’s needed for the health plan to pay them…

In the chaotic days after the rollout of HealthCare.gov, many brokers were told by call center operators that they could not, or would not, enter a broker’s identification, or the “national producer number.” In other cases, the numbers seemed to be recorded — but then they got caught up in the problems with the corrupted “834” files that the exchanges send to the health plans with enrollment information.

Here’s the other part of this. One of the key points that O-Care critic Bob Laszewski has stressed all along is that the front end of Healthcare.gov shouldn’t be fixed until the back end is. The back end is where an applicant’s information, including payment information presumably, is transmitted to the insurer he signed up with. Because of the “834″ problem mentioned in the excerpt above, much of the info received thus far by insurance companies from the federal website is garbled or incomplete. That problem is manageable, says Laszewski, as long as the number of enrollments is low; if there’s only a trickle of bad data flowing in, insurers may have the time and manpower needed to correct it piecemeal. If, however, the front end of the website is fixed and enrollments pick up precipitously, the trickle turns into a flood and suddenly insurance companies are overwhelmed with garbled data. Listening to Chao here, it sounds like CMS is setting itself up for precisely that problem — they’re desperate to finish the front end first in order to get “young healthies” on the rolls ASAP, but they haven’t even begun to build part of the back end of the site. How bad, exactly, are things on that back end right now? What happens if the White House convinces hundreds of thousands of people to sign up before December 15 and then their new coverage isn’t there for them on January 1 because of a catastrophic breakdown on the non-public part of the site? Even if the coverage is there, what about the payment of subsidies that lower-income people are relying on to make their coverage affordable?

Exit question via Philip Klein: “If — as per Chao — payment system still needs to be built, has anybody fully enrolled in Obamacare?”


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..look real close at the picture for this post. Is it just me, or does that guy look like Ralph Kramden?

The War Planner on November 19, 2013 at 2:44 PM

…to the MOON!

KOOLAID2 on November 19, 2013 at 6:52 PM

Not a problem. King Barack will wave his Royal Scepter and all will be ‘fixed’.

GarandFan on November 19, 2013 at 7:09 PM

Boy, I hope those 100 million people who enrolled so far don’t try to all pay at once. That could be a problem.

Philly on November 19, 2013 at 7:09 PM

Not to worry…they’ll just contract with PayPal…..

ProfShadow on November 19, 2013 at 7:32 PM

The biggest fraud and theft heist in Human History.

MoneyBagsObama floats away in his golden parachute with Mooch, Dodd, Schumer, Frank, Franken, Pelosi, and .. whatever.

This present-Duncy is over.

Key West Reader on November 19, 2013 at 7:44 PM

My mother is retired but still works. She just got hit with a new $36 per week TAX from Obamacare.

And.. she’s RETIRED and on SOCIAL SECURITY and on MEDICARE.

Now she’s paying taxes for working? So she can pay for the welfare rats that are sucking the system dry?

Really O’Bozo? Really? I guess when you said you were gonna “redistribute the wealth” you really did MEAN it. Kicking granny off the cliff to pay for Bon-Qui-Qui’s weave…

Impeach this idiot.

Key West Reader on November 19, 2013 at 7:47 PM

And still, no one has lost their job over this. Not within the administration anyway. I heard the president say earlier that he’s not so stupid to have unveiled something he knew wasn’t going to work, and of course, he didn’t know it wasn’t going to work, either. So my question is, which is more stupid, being the president and not knowing that the website was a one eyed cyclops from hell, or knowing that it was and opening it up to disastrous results anyway? Oh yea, and then there’s the “how stupid can you be not to at least hold someone, ANYone accountable for the disaster” question. We’ve asked these questions a lot lately.

scalleywag on November 19, 2013 at 8:04 PM

I heard Michelle is gonna fix it.

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

What’s the over/under on how long she lasts before they lock her up again?

txhsmom on November 19, 2013 at 8:07 PM

I don’t think it can be fixed, they’re just too stupid to admit it. I’m afraid the more they tinker with it the worse it will get.

scalleywag on November 19, 2013 at 8:10 PM

This cannot be fixed.

Obama cannot be fixed either.

Suxtabeyou main stream media. You’re going down that toilet bowl with your messiah. Enjoy the thrill of the ride. I hear the swirl is just AWESOME!

/fuc*kers.

Key West Reader on November 19, 2013 at 8:32 PM

I don’t think it can be fixed, they’re just too stupid to admit it. I’m afraid the more they tinker with it the worse it will get.

scalleywag on November 19, 2013 at 8:10 PM

I dunno.. I think that 300 Million Americans should just plug their own personal data into a website that.. uh. feeds to hackers!

YES! YES, WE CAN!

/What a disaster.

Key West Reader on November 19, 2013 at 8:35 PM

It’s just churn.

Dhuka on November 19, 2013 at 8:42 PM

Why are payments to private industry being funneled through a gubmint website?

Who am I paying?

wolly4321 on November 19, 2013 at 8:44 PM

Did I mishear the figures? What I thought I heard was that an astonishing 60% – 70% of the system needed to be rebuilt (“the payment system”).

BLOC on November 19, 2013 at 8:54 PM

Well this explains why my “enrollment” went nowhere on Sunday. The selected provider has no record of me choosing them, and the healthcare.gov can’t find my “confirmed applicant ID number” or whatever that is. Good thing I opted NOT TO include my SSN when I went through the process.

Believe it or not, the SSN is optional. I guess they really plan to enroll millions of illegals behind our backs.

The funniest thing is I got an email telling me to check the message center at healthcare.gov. I logged in and guess what?? NO MESSAGE CENTER link or button to click on exists ANYWHERE on any page after you login. So how are we supposed to receive and read our messages?

This is so FUBAR’ed that it is laughable. I was expecting the worst when I initially logged in but made it all the way through to having a selected plan and an enrollment confirmation ID. The very next step was the “pay now” button, which is where I stopped, not trusting the security. I had thought I could pay the provider. However it is very obvious that the morons who built this site do not have the expertise to securely transmit accurate data fields to the intended recipient.

Fixed in the next 11 days? Laughable.

karenhasfreedom on November 19, 2013 at 9:25 PM

karenhasfreedom on November 19, 2013 at 9:25 PM.

You are actually even remotely thinking about signing up?

You don’t have freedom,, you are signing up for slavery.

Get the hell away from that website. NEVER sign up.

Jeez.

wolly4321 on November 19, 2013 at 9:37 PM

Wolly, don’t be critical. There are extenuating circumstances that happened last week which reversed my situation to boycott this mess. Otherwise I would have skipped the whole thing. I can’t change what happened to me last week and I won’t discuss it on a blog site.

karenhasfreedom on November 19, 2013 at 9:39 PM

They don’t need your SS#. Utah data center has that covered.

wolly4321 on November 19, 2013 at 9:40 PM

The vichy had extenuating circumstances.

You aren’t gaining anything,, no matter what.

Even if you were diagnosed with cancer,, (hope you weren’t)

False promises will not fix whatever happened to you,,, just last week.

Get real. Look for a real solution to whatever it is. Barkycare ain’t it.

But my prayers. Must be serious to pin your hopes on a cargo cult messiah.

wolly4321 on November 19, 2013 at 9:50 PM

One of my patients who is self-pay and no Obama supporter has been trying to get through off and on since the beginning to get a plan for herself (post-colon cancer) and her young son. She has gotten almost to the end twice but it has always crashed when she gets to the final pricing stage. The site has told her that at her part-time income and with a dependent, she only qualifies for $40 in subsidies. Today she said she has had enough and is going to try to get “partner” benefits through her fiance’s employer. Even though she is a prime Obamacare candidate and in their choice voting demographic (single minority mom), she is convinced that repeal is the only way out of this mess.

inmypajamas on November 19, 2013 at 9:59 PM

Wolly, it is not a health issue that happened last week, but a, let’s just say, a severe family issue. Sometime people have to do something to keep the peace in the family. You are criticizing someone who doesn’t even believe Social Security and medicare will even exist in 9 years when I am old enough to supposedly “collect”. I

karenhasfreedom on November 19, 2013 at 10:01 PM

Then why would you prop up another false promise.

I don’t knuw what family issue could possibly be assuaged by signing up for barkycare.

Hope it works out for you, but if you are pinning it on that…. it’s over.

Again,, don’t sound like freedom.

wolly4321 on November 19, 2013 at 10:28 PM

Why are payments to private industry being funneled through a gubmint website?

Who am I paying?

wolly4321 on November 19, 2013 at 8:44 PM

I think Allah is a little mixed up here. The payment issue refers to payment of subsidies by the government to the insurer, not payment by applicants to the insurer. The applicant pays the insurer for his/her share of the premium, then the government pays the insurer whatever subsidy the applicant is eligible for. It is the latter that is not operational, but doesn’t really need to be before January, when the policies purchased now are supposed to kick in.

cam2 on November 19, 2013 at 10:31 PM

I recently submitted my DNA to the National Geographic Genome Project and it turns out that some of my ancestors were Jewish. In light of the fact that I can claim kinship with those ancestors I think there is a great expression I can borrow that sums up everything we are learning about the Ocare website and that expression is OIY VEY!

neyney on November 19, 2013 at 10:36 PM

I recently submitted my DNA to the National Geographic Genome Project and it turns out that some of my ancestors were Jewish. In light of the fact that I can claim kinship with those ancestors I think there is a great expression I can borrow that sums up everything we are learning about the Ocare website and that expression is OIY VEY!

neyney on November 19, 2013 at 10:36 PM

You should look for some black, Native American or ‘hispanic’ content, then you can claim bunches of government goodies and get preferred treatment when you apply for jobs.

slickwillie2001 on November 19, 2013 at 10:39 PM

The depth and breadth of the Obama Administration’s incompetence is only now coming to light.

Frankly, given how evidently completely stupid every single person involved with this project in any way is, it is amazing they were able to divert/award/steal so much for their cronies in the Energy and Stimulus spending sprees.

Adjoran on November 19, 2013 at 11:19 PM

I heard today that Obama told his robots that one hundred million persons signed up for Obamacare.

Surely he misspoke…

Dhuka on November 19, 2013 at 11:28 PM

Not surprising that for O’Commiecare the ATM will be OPM…..

viking01 on November 19, 2013 at 11:30 PM

Why are payments to private industry being funneled through a gubmint website?

Who am I paying?

wolly4321 on November 19, 2013 at 8:44 PM

Russian hackers, silly. :)

SubmarineDoc on November 19, 2013 at 11:38 PM

I haven’t signed up and I won’t. Too damned much of an invasion into my life and a severe identity theft hazard. The only answers to questions from these a$$holes will be NOYDB (None Of Your Damn Business)

hamradio on November 20, 2013 at 2:05 AM

NO WORRY: Chao & company have implemented a DIRECT CONNECTION to the Nigerian who is directly responsible for purchasing things using your identity!!

This part of the web site is 100% working.

landlines on November 20, 2013 at 2:08 PM

The applicant pays the insurer for his/her share of the premium, then the government pays the insurer whatever subsidy the applicant is eligible for. It is the latter that is not operational, but doesn’t really need to be before January, when the policies purchased now are supposed to kick in.

cam2 on November 19, 2013 at 10:31 PM

REALLY??

Can you cite an example of an insurance company paying a claim for a policy which has NOT been fully paid in advance of the claim??

In the real world, NO PAYMENT SYSTEM = NO INSURANCE!!!

Note to the millions whose insurance was cancelled: DON’T GET SICK IN JANUARY!!!

landlines on November 20, 2013 at 2:17 PM

A storefront where you can’t actually buy anything.

Democrats going back to their communist roots. D’awwww. It’s so cute.

evergreen on November 20, 2013 at 4:43 PM

I heard today that Obama told his robots that one hundred million persons signed up for Obamacare.

Surely he misspoke…

Dhuka on November 19, 2013 at 11:28 PM

I’ll bet its 500 million next month….

dentarthurdent on November 20, 2013 at 5:24 PM

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