Exchange Workers Stuck in 'Stone Age'

The future of healthcare is shaping into something that looks like it is out of a science-fiction movie: electronic health records, E-prescriptions, big data, and cutting-edge technologies being used in the patient procedures. So why are the healthcare insurance exchanges relying on stone-age processes?

The future of healthcare is transforming into what looks like something out of a science-fiction movie: electronic health records, E-prescriptions, “big data,” and cutting-edge technologies being used in patient procedures. So why are the healthcare insurance exchanges relying on stone-age processes?

Due to glitches on the website intended to sign up millions of uninsured Americans, many volunteers are being forced into relying on paper applications and telephone assistance. The whole concept of the healthcare.gov Internet resource was to make obtaining healthcare insurance more accessible and convenient for consumers.

George Van Antwerp, general manager of Pharmacy Solutions at Silverlink Communications, seemed to predict this debacle was likely to occur after experiencing his own frustrations with the system. “If everyone else has a similar experience, this is either going to be a miserable failure or the call centers are going to be lit up with phone calls and huge waits,” Mr Van Antwerp wrote.

Mark Nelson, an insurance broker, reported that while he was able to sign up, he wasn’t sure if it was done correctly. “The site is extremely unstable and temperamental. It erred out on the final page,” Mr Nelson said in a recent article. “I think I did get the info in so will see what I get back. I believe this is far too complicated and overly secured to simply get a rate.”

However, proponents don't seem distressed.

“An extraordinary number of people are coming to check out HealthCare.gov. Traffic on the website and at the call center continues to be high, suggesting a strong interest by consumers in learning about their health coverage options,” The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which is running the websites, said in a statement.“Our top issue is that too many people are coming to check out plans and find out more about the health care law.”

Although the influx shows that consumers have a strong interest in obtaining coverage, the administration must find ways to make the system more stable. Florida, for instance, only has 34 navigators available for calls. With millions of uninsured seeking coverage, the stone-age approach is simply not sustainable.

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