It is becoming eerily familiar to Russell Head and his colleagues at Group & Benefits Consultants as they try to enroll people in plans through the Affordable Care Act: the healthcare.gov Web site crashes, but the deadline that was supposed to be just before midnight Monday is extended a day.
“It is chaotic,” Head said as his office scrambled to get in last minute enrollees so that their coverage could begin Jan. 1.
That deadline was extended to 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, according to the Associated Press. Actual enrollment for coverage that will start later is through March 31.
Trying to meet the earlier deadlines meant being in the office until “2,3,4 in the morning working,” Head said. “I’m tired.”
Another day means coming back Tuesday and working up to that deadline again. It also means more headaches for those down the line.
“It just makes it that much more difficult for the insurance carriers,” Head said, who has to issue cards and get people into the system in time. Despite administration assurances to the contrary, the Web site has been up and down the last couple of weeks and the crunch of the deadline was apparently too much, he said. Monday, the number of clients signed up would be “in the single digits.”
Head was among those who spent hours just after midnight on Oct. 1, the day open enrollment began, trying to get into the Web site only to get error message after error message. To be back in that situation Monday had him thinking about next year, when the open enrollment will be a lot shorter than the six months this time around.
“It has to start working a whole lot better than it does today,” Head said. “Hopefully, give it a year, hopefully they’ll have all of the bugs fixed and it will be a whole lot more user friendly.”