D.C. Health Link Issues
Starting on Oct. 1st, Americans will be able to peruse insurance plans from the comfort of their couches. But in the capitol, a technical problem with the DC Health Link exchange website will make the process of enrolling online a bit more complicated. On Tuesday, DC Health Link announced that though residents will be able to purchase insurance plans during October, the system will not be able to calculate subsidy amounts, the Washington Post reported. Those who are between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty line are eligible to receive these tax credits to help pay for their monthly insurance premiums. If you live in Washington, D.C., and are signing up in October, beware that subsidies will be calculated "off-line by experts" and mailed in early November.
Report: Consumers May be Overwhelmed by Too Many Choices
According to a report released from the Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday, consumers will have an average of 53 qualified health plans to chose from on the exchange, which may make people feel overwhelmed by the choices. "Now people have options that they've never had before," Douglas Hough, an associate scientist at John Hopkins School of Public Health, tells U.S. News & World Report. Faced with too much choice, Hough suggests that consumers may be drawn to well-known insurers or in some cases, decide against purchasing insurance altogether. Other consumers may balk at paying money every month for a service that they don't use all the time. "You don't want them to have to write a check every month. That just brings out, 'I keep paying this health insurance, and I'm not getting anything from it," he explains. The scientist suggests the solution may be in direct deposit payments, a strategy that would mimic how employers pay for employee insurance by deducting it from their paychecks.
Online Sign-Up Delayed for Small Businesses
The Obama administration said on Thursday that small business owners who want to buy coverage for their employees via specially designed online markets will have to wait until "sometime in November," the Associated Press reported. They will still be able to start shopping when the marketplaces open on Oct. 1, and will still be able to get coverage for their employees by Jan. 1. Another glitch will affect Spanish-speaking consumers: The government told Hispanic groups on Wednesday that the Spanish-language version of the healthcare.gov site will not be ready for a few more weeks.