Despite early assurances, Colorado’s state-run health care exchange seems plagued by the same problems as the one run by the federal government.
As reported by The Daily Caller News Foundation last week, a measly 226 people have signed up for health insurance through Colorado’s web portal since Oct. 1, but Obamacare managers said the roll-out had been a success because several thousand people created online profiles on the site and were likely taking their time to shop for affordable plans.
Now it seems the website is forcing them to take their time.
Three weeks after roll-out, Colorado Connect for Health’s website is frustrating nearly everyone who uses it, according to the Denver Post. Problems include confusing error messages, volunteer helpers who know less about the system than those who are seeking assistance and customers being locked out of their profiles.
“They had three years to get this up and running,” Jesse Jacobs, a potential customer who has been unable to log into his account for weeks, told the Post. “I don’t know what they spent the money on.”
The complaints echo those aimed at the federal system, which is being used in 36 states and which even liberals like Obama acolyte Andrew Sullivan call a “clusterfuck.”
The federally run site is so bad that President Obama addressed its almost total failure during a special speech in the Rose Garden Monday where he was reduced to reciting a 1-800 number where people could buy health insurance, in the manner of an infomercial pitchman offering 120 Musical Masterpieces on 8-track cartridge for only $15.98.
Obama’s so-called “ShamWow Speech” was widely ridiculed and left even supporters more confused about Obamacare. (Related: Salesman in chief pitches Obamacare to midday TV audience)
But even on the Centennial State’s own exchange site, lower-income Coloradans are experiencing long delays in their wait to be denied Medicaid coverage, a formality that allows people who earn too much to be covered under expanded Medicaid to receive tax credits for insurance bought through the state exchange.
The system, according to the Post, was meant to give these customers an immediate Medicaid denial so that they can head straight to the health care exchange, but some applicants in this category report that they’ve been waiting to get turned down for weeks.
They’re also upset that the form they must fill out is 12 pages long and asks detailed questions about income and assets, even though they know they don’t qualify for Medicaid.
The Post reports that Colorado’s Medicaid office is swamped with applicants, processing as many as 900 applications a day submitted by people who now qualify for coverage under the program’s expanded eligibility guidelines. Before Obamacare, the office saw about 100 applications per day.
Colorado spent $21 million marketing the health care exchange website. Emails to representatives of Connect for Health Colorado were not returned.
Colorado is hardly the only state running its own exchange through a glitchy website. New York, Maryland and Oregon are also experiencing problems. The only states that appear to have relatively error-free experiences, according to a snapshot of state-run exchanges by Reason, are Kentucky and Washington.
But the site warns that “smooth sailing” is a relative concept. Given how badly the federal system is, websites that are mildly troubled in comparison can be seen as raging successes.
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