Computer Issues May Hamper Online Insurance Markets

Julie Appleby | Kaiser Health News | November 14, 2012

New online insurance markets set to begin selling health coverage to consumers next October may be hampered by delays in launching a key computer program, according to state consultants and insurance regulators. State regulators learned late last week that an electronic system most insurers will use to submit their policies for state and federal approvals won’t be ready for testing next month, as originally planned. The lag is being blamed on the wait for several regulations from the Obama administration, which are needed to update the software.

The slowdown "creates another three-month delay," said Dan Schuyler, a director at Leavitt Partners, a consulting firm working with states to set up the markets, called exchanges. "They're not going to be ready." Others believe the delay, while not necessarily critical, will further squeeze  insurance regulators and insurers, who still have much work to complete before next fall when enrollment is slated to start in the exchanges, a critical part of the health law.  Enrollment is set to begin Oct. 1 for policies that go into effect Jan. 1, 2014...