Organized to the public as a Travelocity-style marketplace online for health insurance, Colorado’s new health care exchange won’t let customers acquire online tax credits for at least the first month.
Colorado health care exchange leaders disclosed Monday during a council board that clients who desire tax credits to arrange health care insurance more accessible will have to seek assistance, rather than assigning the multi-million dollar computer system on their own.
One of the core audiences for the new health care exchange is “young unconquerable,” healthy 20-somethings, many of whom favour to make an investigation and purchase everything from athletic shoes to college tuition online.
Even customers cooperating with hundreds of individual navigators of assistance sites network all over the state should come in contact with call center in Colorado Springs to find someone who can in manual mode explain to them how they can apply for tax credits.
That’s because the online system for identifying legal power for tax credits is not definite enough to confide yet.
“It’s not as smooth as we would like,” said Ben Davis, a communications consultant for health care exchange. “You have to utilize a customer service spokesmen during October.”
None of the non-executive directors posed questions about postponing in online operating standards and managers did not propose any possibility for public comment.
Price problems are diverse all over the country. The Wall Street Journal informed last week that blunders could include 36 states where federal government is performing health care exchanges. Complications in Oregon have made exchange health care managers there to announce that public members won’t be capable to purchase insurance online when its exchange releases next week.
Most buyers on Colorado’s health care exchange, Connect for Health, are expected to arrange either for Medicaid — public health care insurance for low-income people — or the tax credits. Anyone gaining 400 percent of federal poverty level will arrange for tax credits. That’s an income about $45,000 for a person and $92,000 for a family consisting of four members.
In order to apply those tax refunds, customers first of all have to ask for Medicaid in Colorado state, which has had problems for years with its publicly available buggy Colorado Benefits Management System (CBMS). Customers should now apply using a portal known as PEAK. Colorado’s main technology member claimed in March that CBMS is much enhanced and vowed that the state would be “ready to deliver” come October.
The state of Colorado and its IT consultants have created and checked software that would define a person’s “modified adjusted gross income” for Medicaid. Extraneously data must be collected to get a tax credit through the exchange. That rules engine isn’t yet working accurately, prompting the October delay.
Sue Birch, head of Colorado’s Medicaid program, said people who qualify for Medicaid will do just fine enrolling entirely online.
She said the delay only affects people applying for tax credits and offers the opportunity “to test in a protected environment.”
Solutions has reported for months on sparring behind the scenes between exchange managers, who operate outside of state government, and the state officials who run Medicaid. Each is using a different IT consultant, but their systems must dovetail in order for the exchange to work as promised. Click here to read Mediator to triage health exchange problems.)
Davis, the exchange’s communications consultant, said he does not expect delays in online functionality to last long.
“We are asking folks in the first month, while we are still testing, working out the kinks, to work with customer service representatives when it comes to filing for tax credits in order to ensure that we are as accurate as we want to be,” Davis said.
He said the exchange is not hiring additional call center workers to handle the increased workload. Altogether, the exchange plans to launch with about 187 agents ready to take calls next week. Consumers can call for help at 1-855-PLANS-4-YOU (1-855-752-6749).
Davis and others are now downplaying the importance of “go-live” day on Oct. 1. Instead, he said the real big day is Dec. 15, the date by which consumers must mail in a check if they want health coverage to kick in on Jan. 1.
“Everything’s got to be cooperating by Dec. 15 on its own,” Davis said.
Consumer defend Dede de Percin, who is executive director of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative (CCHI), underestimated the October delay, claiming she waits for the most customers to shop rather than purchase immense.
“With any main release, there are going to be some hiccups or bumps in the road,” de Percin claimed. “If people desire to fill in right away, they will still be capable to fill in. They’ll just have to undergo one additional step of having to come in contact customer service center.”
CCHI carried out focus groups across the state as Colorado is ready to release health care reform with My Canadian Pharmacy cooperation. She claimed customers were understanding that they viewed buing health care insurance as a difficult decision and that they desired to assist and wanted to take their time.
“People are desiring to spend a lot of time adopting this decision. They are going to spend days (thinking about it). It’s a great purchase,” de Percin claimed.
“There will be some citizens who desire to buy on the first day,” she claimed . But she expects that requirement will arrange over the first several weeks.
“We expect to see a ramp up to December 15.”