An ObamaCare insurance exchange once viewed as a steady ship in a sea of glitch-plagued websites is now running into problems of its own – adding to a new mess of health industry complications under the Affordable Care Act, including premium hikes, jittery insurers and failing co-ops.
Your Health Idaho (YHI), the Idaho marketplace that was one of the better-run systems when the law went into effect, was late getting thousands of state residents critical tax forms this year. One recent report said the call center also has struggled to answer customer calls, directing them instead to send requests by email — and the system has taken months to enroll some people after they signed up.
“We saw this coming years ago. We were promised that by having a state exchange, the customer would have a far superior experience compared to the federal level, and that’s proven to be false,” said Wayne Hoffman, the CEO of the Idaho Freedom Foundation who has opposed the Idaho state exchange from the start. He said they were warned that under the federal exchange, customers might “have to wait months and months for forms to be returned to them, yet, that is exactly the same experience people in Idaho are having today.”
Your Health Idaho, meanwhile, is blaming Washington — saying the reason for the delay in tax forms was faulty information they received from the federal government.
The problems in Idaho mark the latest turbulence for the health care overhaul. UnitedHealth, the nation’s largest health insurer, is projecting millions in losses and recently announced it plans to cut participation in the insurance exchanges to just a handful of states next year; many of the so-called co-ops established under the law have gone belly up; and insurers now are expected to seek steep premium increases for next year to offset financial problems.