By C.N. Staff Writer
The arrival of Jan. 1 will be a big event for President Barack Obama’s health care law — the day when Americans across the country can use their new health insurance for the first time. Over the month of December the White House twice-announced that the deadline to sign up for healthcare was extended, ensuring that millions of Americans had enough time to get through to federal and state-sponsored sites.
Officals said the healthcare.gov site saw nearly 2 million page views and the call center received more than 250,000 calls Monday December 23rd, just one day before the deadline to enroll. It was a record traffic day that left some consumers stuck in an electronic line on the website or on hold for long periods on the phone. December 23rd was the initial deadline, but the Obama administration announced late Monday that they would extend the deadline to Christmas eve, Dec. 24th to provide residents with enough time to get through to healthcare representatives.
President Obama said that at least 1 million people have signed up for coverage, up from roughly 365,000 through Nov. 30., which includes sign-ups on both the federal exchange and those run by individual states. However, it does not factor in whether applicants had made a first payment to their insurer — a crucial last step before coverage begins.
In the latest glitch to emerge regarding the Affordable Care Act system, health officials are telling new enrollees that the federal insurance marketplace will not be able to update their coverage online to reflect the birth of a baby and other life changes.
Parents will still be able to get new babies covered, but the missing feature on the website represents another step, and just one of several glitches that continue to surface. In certain states, problems have also prevented thousands of would-be Medicaid enrollees from getting coverage.
The federal marketplace serves 36 states through HealthCare.gov and call centers. The Medicare agency, which runs the government’s other major health programs, is also responsible for expanded coverage under Obama’s law.
Of them, 10,000 tried to go through HealthCare.gov but were told they qualified for Medicaid. However, the website reportedly transferred basic files to state officials — lacking information needed to sign them up for the government program.
Now, state officials are sending those individuals letters telling them to sign up again via the state’s Medicaid site. The other 8,000 reportedly tried to sign up for Medicaid through the state, and were told they were ineligible — however, the information was not transferred to the federal exchanges, as it was supposed to be.