Marylanders who use the federal health reform site to search for navigators who can help them enroll in health plans in-person are getting directed to agencies in other states.
The problem lies with a glitch in the federal website that occurs when Marylanders type in their zip code. The website directs users to navigators in Pennsylvania, Virginia and other states.
Dori Henry, a spokeswoman for Maryland’s website, said state officials are “aware of the problem and we’ve reached out to (Health and Human Services) to ask them to get it fixed as expeditiously as possible.”
Well, who could expect the federal government to know…zip codes?
Now, why are Maryland citizens on the federal exchange? Don’t they have their own exchange, about which President Obama said this?
Folks in different parts of the country will have different experiences. It’s going to be smoother in places like Maryland where governors are working to implement it rather than fight it. (Applause.)
Yes, they do have their own exchange, which has managed to sign up only 12 percent of their target and has left the state in a sad tug-of-war between misplaced pride and hope in its $107 million exchange and a desire to get as many people signed up as possible:
Rep. John Delaney, a Democrat, formally asked the state’s health secretary for a specific assessment of the idea of switching to the federal health exchange while Maryland’s exchange is being repaired. He wrote in a letter to Dr. Joshua Sharfstein that Maryland could make the switch in whole or in part or on a temporary basis.
Delaney cited recently released data from the White House that indicated 2.1 million people have signed up for private insurance nationally, including more than 1 million through the federal marketplace. The congressman compared that to 18,257 Maryland residents who have been able to enroll, which is 12 percent of the state’s goal of 150,000.
“We have fallen quite far behind the national average and we’re running out of time,” Delaney wrote, adding that he has heard from frustrated and concerned residents throughout his district, which stretches from Garrett County in western Maryland and includes a significant portion of Montgomery County near the nation’s capital.
Gov. Martin O’Malley, who wants to run for president and planned to use his aggressive Obamacare implementation as a feather in his cap with the party and Democratic voters, is “keep[ing] the idea of moving to the federal exchange or partnering with other states under consideration.” Isn’t time running a little short, here?