FROM ADA PRESIDENT, DR. ROBERT FAIELLA (August 16):
ACA Exchange (Marketplace) Implementation: How is it going? The answer to that question depends on who’s talking. There is universal acknowledgement that there will be initial “glitches” as states and the federal government attempt to “open the door” to enrollees on Oct. 1. Skeptics are predicting a “train wreck” while others are more optimistic. Regardless of opinion, the process of implementation is continuing to move forward.
Most people agree that the new system faces many challenges. As recently reported in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, ultimately, the success or failure of an exchange will depend on its ability to attract enough young and healthy uninsured individuals. President Obama is on record saying his administration needed to urge young people to sign up.
Enrollment begins on Oct. 1.The U.S. Government Accountability Office has expressed concern that this fact may escape many in the target audience. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary acknowledges that efforts to reach consumers have been uneven. In general terms, states that are building their own marketplace have done better in identifying the uninsured and in taking measures to help guide them through the purchasing process. In some states, private, non-profit organizations are assisting with outreach efforts. People can enroll in health plans as late as Dec. 15 for plans that begin coverage on Jan. 1.
Success of the new system is also dependent on a fully functioning IT infrastructure. The technical challenges of having the IT system in place and properly running cannot be understated. According to the Office of the Inspector General (HHS), the federal data hub for the exchanges will not be designated as “secure” until Sept. 30.