KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations ‘Vastly Improved,’ But Back-End Problems Persist

A little over a week after the deadline that President Barack Obama gave for fixing the federal health care exchange, the system serving 36 states is far more user friendly, according to consumers and navigators. But it is unclear how many of those who enroll in plans may have had garbled or incomplete information sent to insurers because of continuing back-end problems. Problems with the Spanish-language version of the website are also identified.

The New York Times: Health Care Exchange Is Vastly Improved, Users Say
After two months of false starts, error messages and pleas for patience from the once-hobbled federal online health care exchange, Karen Egozi, the chief executive of the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida, watched on Monday as counselors navigated the website’s pages with relative ease. Click. Next page. Click. Next page. The website,, was working so well that Ms. Egozi, who oversees the 45 navigators in eight locations who help consumers enroll in health plans, said her team gave the system an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10, meaning that most people got as far as selecting a plan or taking home information to select a plan. It felt like a champagne moment (Alvarez and Preston, 2/9).

Bloomberg: Back-End Errors At U.S. Health Website Jeopardize Sign Up
There’s no way to tell how many people who think they enrolled for health insurance through the U.S. Obamacare exchange actually have, after about 1 in 4 files sent to insurers had garbled and incomplete information. The data transmission errors have been reduced to 1 in 10 since Nov. 30, the government said on Dec. 6 (Wayne and Nussbaum, 12/9).

Bloomberg: Hidden Obamacare Website Costs Show Lack Of Transparency
President Barack Obama’s health agency said it has spent $319 million building an online health-insurance marketplace through October. More than three years after the passage of Obama’s signature health-care law in 2010, it’s almost impossible to verify and track that spending through public records (Miller and Wayne, 12/10).

CQ HealthBeat: Spanish Website Launches, But More Tweaks Needed
One of the first things noticed by Latino groups who are testing out the newly-launched Spanish-language health care website is that the window shopping tool to compare coverage options without first setting up an account is still written in English. Federal officials “didn’t mention that was going to be the case or when it’d be fixed,” said Liliana Rañón, director of policy and legislation for the League of United Latin American Citizens. “It’s something I made a note of. I’m going to let them know it needs to be changed” (Adams, 12/9).

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