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Problems Continue to Plague Obamacare

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On Friday, the Obama Administration admitted that approximately 800,000 Healthcare.gov customers have received incorrect tax forms.  The administration is asking those who received the wrong tax information to hold off on filing their 2014 tax returns until they receive corrected forms.

The delay means that thousands of Americans will have to wait longer to receive their tax refunds—and those refunds could be smaller than they would be otherwise.  Others who filed early will have to refile their tax returns.

This is not the only headache that the Obamacare website has caused the administration in recent days.

On Saturday, the day before the Obamacare sign-up deadline, the website was plagued by technical issues.  Customers were unable to sign-up for federally mandated health insurance even as the deadline approached. Officials were able to fix the problem Saturday night.

Although many were unable to sign up on Saturday, they will have another chance to do so as the administration has allowed a six week grace period after the deadline for uninsured Americans to sign up for health care.  The administration hopes that the grace period will allow uninsured Americans to get health care once they realize that fines for Obamacare’s individual mandate kick in this year.

Following the technical setback on Saturday, Politico released a report on Tuesday which looked at the continued problems with the Healthcare.gov website.

Although the front end of the website has presented a more reliable experience for users this year than 2013’s error prone launch, Politico reports that the back end of the website “is still a mess.”

The back end, which was only 40% finished for the official site launch, remains unfinished.  Although the federal exchange was intended to be fully automated, administrators and insurers are being forced to rely on manual workarounds and spreadsheets to keep the exchange functionally operating.

Additionally, the lack of automation has the administration concerned that it could be over-paying insurers.

Combined, these problems have muted the president’s announcement that 11.4 million people had signed up for Obamacare, exceeding the administration’s recently lowered expectations.  However, even that news has been subject to criticism as some are claiming that not all who signed up will ultimately be covered by health insurance.

Although Healthcare.gov is running better than last year, it still faces many challenges ahead.

 

About Nathan Strout

Nathan Strout is a Development Associate with The Maine Heritage Policy Center as well as a staff writer for The Maine Wire. Born and raised in Portland, Strout is a graduate of Eastern University with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in Legal Studies.

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