The Ailing Healthcare Marketplace: Inside Obamacare Tech Glitches
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) Well, it's taken me two weeks just to get on the healthcare.gov website and several hours of trying to enroll in the marketplace and apply for a plan, but I finally did it and the result was nothing. Why? Because I made mistakes on my application, there are glitches in the system and because I am requested to send in income verification documents which will probably delay me further in choosing or even seeing a healthcare plan I can afford.
The healthcare.gov site does allow those visiting the site from states that have not set up their own exchanges to see the costs and plans offered in their state without any subsidies applied and I've heard from many who have found it to be cheaper than what they were paying privately, even without subsidies.
If you don't know if your state is on the federal exchange or has its own exchange you can find out by clicking "Find the marketplace in your state" on the tiles across the bottom and entering your state.
How is the application supposed to work to determine eligibility online and on the spot?
Now, you might wonder, as I did, why I am being requested to send documentation of my income in the form of paper documents, because a website project this huge should include linking or accessibility to at least the IRS. So I called up the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of Communications (a division of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services) to ask.
That's how I learned about "The Hub" (officially called the Data Services Hub), which was created to help verify information used to determine eligibility for subsidies and inclusion in a marketplace plan in real time. It provides access to the Social Security Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Veterans Affairs, Medicare, TRICARE, the Peace Corps and the Office of Personnel Management.
It didn't work at all for me, but I think this process works in a straightforward way for someone with one job and a simple W-2. But for those who are self-employed or have other sources of income such as investments or rental income, alimony, etc., verification may be necessary.
Wondering about the security of your private information?
CMS has security and privacy agreements with all federal agencies and states connecting to the Hub. According to the official press release, The Hub increases efficiency and security by eliminating the need for each marketplace, Medicaid agency, and CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program) agency to set up separate data connections to each database. Security risks decrease when the number of connections to a data source decreases, and The Hub was also built with several layers of protection in place to decrease personal information security risk.