As many Americans are undoubtedly aware, HealthCare.gov did not exactly go off without a hitch. Due to a lack of supervision and excessive spending, HealthCare.gov was launched as a morass of broken code — a site that worked so poorly that the healthcare deadlines were extended once, and then again, and then yet again. Confusion was so significant that grants were extended twice for healthcare insurance “navigators” across the nation, whose only job was to explain how to use the website to those who needed insurance. Now, nine months into the Affordable Care Act, Americans may wonder: was it worth it or should I have just gone old school and actually visited a local agency for help?
Where Did It All Go Wrong?
Building a single website might seem easy, but the problem with HealthCare.gov is that it had to connect every single state. Each state had their own insurance companies and each state had their own insurance guidelines; everything had to be combined into a single site. Moreover, the site had to be clean and easy to use — not exactly an easy order for something as complex as insurance.
With that in mind, it seems as though the complexity of the site may have been just a little more than it really needed to be. The website was rumored to have billions of lines of code, far more than the operating system Microsoft Windows or even space shuttles. As with any complex system, issues cropped up — and these issues became significant when everyone in America was attempting to secure healthcare.
Of course, these issues have largely been fixed; at least, according to the government. Registration dates were extended several times and with each iteration, the system became a little easier to use and a little more stable. At this point, the HealthCare.gov platform should be ready to go for the coming year.
The Next Open Enrollment Approaches
The next open enrollment period for healthcare will begin in November 15th and run through February 15th. If the failures of HealthCare.gov have truly been resolved, then this enrollment period (which is only half as long as the prior period) should go off without a hitch. After all, with the limitless resources of the government, shouldn’t the website at least work? There is very little to do except wait and see.
A side note, some carriers may be cancelling policies without notice, so make sure to enroll during open enrollment to get covered.
Healthcare navigators have been funded through to the next year, and will remain in place for those who need help signing up for HealthCare.gov. Those who have not yet obtained insurance will need to shortly if they want to avoid fines for not having insurance in the coming tax year. It is the hope that the system will work as it originally should have.
Though HealthCare.gov might have seemed like a monumental accident to start, history may see it as simply a small road bump in the pursuit of affordable healthcare. The next year will likely make or break the ACA initiative in terms of whether it is considered a success or a dramatic bumble — and the next elections could either seal the deal for ACA or put a nail in its coffin.