In less than a week, the
first group of Americans will have health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
While the federal website for Obamacare is now mostly repaired and handling
millions of visitors, not all sign-ups are running smoothly.
The websites of at least three states are still not fully functional, leaving thousands of people unsure when exactly they can buy insurance.
In Massachusetts, Maryland and Oregon, three of the states that built their own health care exchanges, website problems have still slowed or stopped online enrollments for Obamacare.
The most surprising state is Massachusetts, which invented the online health exchange six years ago, but has had to process tens of thousands of applications on paper because its new website cannot determine federal subsidies.
In Oregon, the website lets customers compare insurance online, but it's not able to let customers buy. The 12,000 Oregon residents who did buy insurance had to file paper applications.
In Maryland, the website works, but slowly and unreliably.
"Is it perfect? Nope, not perfect,” said Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley last Monday. “People still get caught? Yep, sure do.”
Massachusetts is now one of two states blaming its website's failure on the main contractor, CGI, which is the same firm connected to the failed rollout of the federal website, Healthcare.gov and the state has announced it is withholding all future payments to the company. CGI could not be reached for comment, but has previously said it is working to repair the problems.
The Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick told the Boston Herald that performance of CGI has been “sup-par.”
"There's no denying the fact that the performance of the IT vendor has been sub-par,” he said. “But that's not the main event. The main event is making sure that people are covered and the team's doing everything they can to make sure that happens and then some.”
Those three states with non-functioning websites have an estimated 1 million people that might qualify for coverage under Obamacare and not having them fully in the system is a threat to the administration’s goal of having 7 million people sign up.