According to Fox News Sunday, the new Healthcare.gov site has not quite achieved the promised “fully functional” status by the November 30th deadline. In fact, the site still can’t verify identities for potential enrollees, which means that consumers can’t be sure they’re seeing the right information for coverage options. After forty-two months of development and nine weeks of futility and failure, this isn’t exactly a confidence-builder (via The Weekly Standard):
“Federal officials promised that healthcare.gov would work smoothly for a vast majority of users starting today. But that has not been the case so far because this morning the critical verification system is unavailable. That’s the system that confirms identities and makes sure people are receiving proper coverage information.
“And applications cannot be submitted without this ant step. The site says this particular problem should be solved within 24 hours. And there is another error much earlier in the process as well. When the site asks if an insurance agent or navigator is assisting you with your application. Ater clicking none of these people are offering any guidance, the next screen incorrectly displays a message declaring the opposite. The banner says, you told us another person is helping you.
“Furthermore, an address associated with healthcare.gov has sent several erroneous e-mails this morning with an alert suggesting that logging in at the website will reveal a new message, however no message ever appeared. Officials have said November 30th was not a magical relaunch date for healthcare.gov, and that like any site, they predict there will be times moving forward when it does not perform optimally.”
A “magical relaunch date”? That was the administration’s initial promise — that all of the bugs would be worked out by December 1, a deadline that is more than just an arbitrary date on the calendar. In order to meet their January 1 deadline for the individual mandate, the site has to be able to enroll millions of people no later than December 23rd — and then the back-end issues have to be fixed, and an entire subsidy payment system launched to ensure that the coverage actually takes effect for those enrolled through Healthcare.gov.
If they still can’t get the front end to verify an enrollee’s identity, just imagine the status of the 834 transmission and subsidy payment infrastructure. And this is after a month-long push to fix these very problems.