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Obamacare's Marketplace Report Card

Marketplace Aftermath

It’s about 5PM on Tuesday, October 01, 2013—a day that marks the birth of the Affordable Care Act’s long-awaited healthcare marketplaces. However, the ACA’s major milestone was overshadowed by a seemingly apocalyptic backdrop: the US government has shut down for the first time since 1996, largely due to the Senate and House’s inability to compromise over a budget that would have defunded Obamacare and its provisions like the marketplaces that opened today.

Obamcare’s health insurance marketplaces have not been without their challenges; from privacy concerns to a generally unaware public, the Affordable Care Act’s golden child has arrived, and many people are left wondering what impact they’ll have on the American public. With roughly 7 hours left on the East coast, we’re beginning to see feedback from people across the country about these exchanges. Whether these concerns, questions, or comments will become trends that are synonymous with the Affordable Care Act.

Without a paddle: navigators nowhere to be found.

The general consensus is that health insurance, in general, is not user friendly. When you add terms like “minimum essential coverage” into the mix, you can begin to imagine how that would intimidate the average American shopping for health insurance. The government’s solution to this, they thought, would be navigators. On paper and only if well-implemented, these navigators would be a godsend to the more than 48 million uninsured Americans (a large number of which have never had health insurance coverage before) shopping for health insurance.

The issue here is that on the exchange’s first day, a time when everyone needed them, the navigators just weren’t available. This is true for states across the country, with one article stating that Illinois’ “Champaign-Urbana Public Health District had just three of its 30 marketplace counselors through all of the required training—meaning only three counselors will be available to actually enroll people in marketplace health plans Tuesday.” Champaign-Urbana’s population was 231,891 as of the 2010 U.S. Census. Similar navigator-to-shopper ratios have also been reported in other states around the country, setting people who need a navigator up for a race against time.

A glitch in the matrix

It’s 2013, and many retailers and service providers have moved away from selling through the phone or mail. The Affordable Care Act sought to provide the same ease-of-use and efficiency by implementing these marketplaces in the form of websites, even in a complicated industry like health insurance. In theory, a point-and-click interface should make the whole experience seemingly easier for the user. But what if the website just doesn’t work?

Glitches in both state and federal online marketplaces have been found, leaving many confused and even more without the health coverage they were promised today. Some websites were simply overloaded and unprepared to handle the increased amount of visitors, and others just didn’t do what they were supposed to.  A report by The Washington Post shows that one potentially serious glitch did not immediately notify applicants living in the District of Columbia that they were eligible for Medicaid or other types of subsidies. Similar glitches were found in Vermont and California, and they’re probably not the last to be encountered.

There’s a saying, “do it right or do it twice.” The saying is supposed to encourage you to slow down and ensure you’re thinking about what you’re doing and that you do it right—or else, you’ll have to go back and do it again. This saying seems to be extremely relevant to Obamacare’s healthcare marketplaces—which have been rushed out of the gate, leaving many concerned about privacy, usability, and whether they’ll ever get the affordable health insurance they’ve been waiting 3 ½ years for.

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Affordable health insurance with iCan

Welcome to the official iCan website, where our mission is to provide you with a wide variety of affordable health coverage options. We offer major medical plans that are fully compliant with the Affordable Care Act, supplemental insurance plans, non-insured benefit programs to help you lead a healthier life, and much more. Our goal is to help you find a plan that fits your budget. Our Licensed Agents will help you make a smart choice about your insurance coverage, and then help you get the most out of your benefits once you’ve made a selection.

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