KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Technical Glitches Delay Online Signups For Small Businesses And Spanish Speakers

The Obama administration acknowledged glitches Thursday that will delay online enrollment for small businesses and Spanish-language speakers in the 34 states that elected to not set up their own insurance marketplaces. The postponements amount to a few weeks in the six-month open enrollment period and will not affect the Jan. 1 start date for coverage.

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Deadline Glitches: Health Overhaul Online Sign-Up Delayed For Small Firms And Spanish Speakers
Administration officials are quietly telling key interest groups to expect initial glitches signing up online for coverage under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. Two sources tell The Associated Press that small businesses will not be able to enroll online starting Oct. 1 when new health insurance markets go live. Instead, one of the sources, a person who was briefed on the situation, said business owners will initially have to mail or fax their information so that they can enroll (9/26).

Reuters: New Delays Hit Obamacare Rollout Before Oct. 1 Launch
The U.S. government on Thursday announced new delays in rolling out President Barack Obama's health care reform, saying small business and Spanish-language health insurance enrollment services would not begin on October 1 as planned.The postponements amount to a few weeks out of a months-long enrollment period aimed at signing up millions of uninsured Americans for health benefits (Morgan, 9/26).

The New York Times: Enrollment To Be Delayed For Small-Business Marketplaces
The Obama administration on Thursday announced another minor delay in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, saying that the insurance marketplaces for small businesses would be fully open for enrollment a month later than it had planned. White House officials played down the development, putting it at the end of a news release announcing that the Department of Health and Human Services was "launching the Small Business Health Option Program Marketplace" (Shear, 9/26).

Los Angeles Times: Glitch Delays Online Tools For U.S. Health Insurance Marketplaces
California is unaffected by the delay. But small businesses in some states that want to sign up their employees for health coverage on new federally run marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act will have to use paper forms until November, according to administration officials (Levey, 9/26).

The Washington Post: Obamacare Suffers Another Delay, Pushing Back Exchange Enrollment For Small Firms
On the federal exchange, which is scheduled to launch on Tuesday, small business owners will not be able to purchase coverage online until Nov. 1. Instead, for the first month, they will have to mail or fax their information to government officials to enroll on the federal exchange, which will serve individuals and business owners in the 34 states that elected not to set up their own exchanges. Plans purchased through the small-business exchange will still take effect Jan. 1, as planned, HHS spokeswoman Joanne Peters told The Washington Post (Harrison, 9/26).

The Wall Street Journal: Online Health Exchanges For Small Businesses Hit Snag
The Obama administration acknowledged for the first time Thursday that a technological problem is forcing it to delay part of the rollout of the new health care law, saying insurance exchanges won't be ready to accept online applications from small businesses when the program launches Tuesday. With less than five days left to debug the sprawling new computer system, there are other signs of trouble: People close to the situation are also skeptical the online marketplaces for individual customers will be fully ready. The administration said it was confident they would open on time (Radnofsky, Weaver and Needleman, 9/26).

Politico: Another Obamacare Delay
The one-month delay is not a major blow to the health care law -- the exchanges for individuals are still expected to open on time. But it's yet another PR headache for the White House as it ramps up a major Obamacare sales pitch just five days before open enrollment is scheduled to begin (Millman and Haberkorn, 9/26).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Online Obamacare Enrollment In Spanish Delayed
The Spanish-language version of will not be equipped to handle online enrollments on Oct 1., according to an Obama administration official. Instead, Spanish speakers will have to wait until Oct. 21 to sign up online (Gold, 9/26).

Marketplace: Obamacare Faces Another Delay: En Espanol
Here's one job we can all be glad isn't ours this week: Tech support for Obamacare. There are reports of two more glitches today. Small businesses who want to sign up for health insurance online will have to wait until Nov. 1 to complete the process, although they will still be able to enroll by fax. That's the small glitch. A bigger deal is that the Spanish version of the main website for the federal exchanges -- the entry point to buy coverage -- won't be working for at least a few weeks (Gorenstein, 9/26).

CBS News: Obamacare’s Counselors Caught In Partisan Battle
Five days before those new state health insurance exchanges open for business, President Obama was out encouraging folks to sign up for Obamacare. But while he was doing that, his administration revealed a couple of new glitches. A Spanish-language enrollment Web site won't be up and running for a few more weeks, and there will be a one-month delay for small businesses to sign up. Counselors known as "navigators" are to help folks with the enrollment process, but they've become targets in the partisan battle over Obamacare (Strassmann, 9/26).

The Hill: White House Delays Obamacare Enrollment For Small Businesses
The Obama administration is delaying ObamaCare enrollment for small businesses and Spanish speakers. Small businesses will not be able to buy health insurance through new online marketplaces when they launch next week, the Health and Human Services Department said. Republicans seized on the delay to argue that the health care law is destined to fail (Baker, 9/26).

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.