But if things don’t smooth out by November, they say, the White House may lose the chance to build confidence in the Obamacare exchanges.
“If it’s not there in a month … there’s going to be a problem,” said Joel Ario of Manatt Health Solutions, the former director of the health exchanges office at the Department of Health and Human Services.
Politically, the White House may not have to worry for a while. The administration has “bought themselves some time to work out the kinks” now that they’ve gotten through the first few days, according to Jim Manley, a Democratic strategist and former aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. And Republicans in Congress are preoccupied with the government shutdown, and aren’t as focused on the health law rollout.
But there’s also a danger that if people who need health insurance can’t get through the website relatively easily, they won’t come back and try again.
“They have to get it right by late October to mid-November,” says Caroline Pearson of Avalere Health, a consulting company that studies the exchanges.” With that time frame, people will come back. “If you’re aware enough and motivated enough to sign up on Day One, you’re motivated to come back a few days from now.”