California Could Delay Opening of Obamacare Exchange


The health insurance exchange in California could be delayed as the system’s administrators continue to finalize the system’s components, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

California’s new health-insurance exchange, the biggest of the state marketplaces emerging under the federal health overhaul law, has started telling insurers that there’s a possibility it won’t be ready to sign up consumers for coverage online when it launches on Oct. 1.

A spokesman for Covered California, the state agency creating the exchange, said the technology for its enrollment process is still being tested, and “we are fully planning on being fully functional on Oct. 1.” But, he said, “we’ve communicated to the health plans that there’s a possibility, depending on the success of the tests, that we would have an aided enrollment and work toward a self-enrollment shortly thereafter.”

Self-enrollment would allow consumers to sign up for health plans themselves through an online process, while “aided enrollment” would involve consumers getting help from counselors, on the phone or in person, who could sign them up for plans.

The exchange is still being tested, the Journal reported.

A spokesman for California’s exchange also said that it is “completely premature to assume the level of functionality” of the exchange right now, the Journal reported.

Oregon has already announced that its exchange will not be ready for the federally mandated Oct. 1 deadline, the Journal added.

Some experts and members of Congress are calling for a one-year delay to the entirety of Obamacare.

The administration has already delayed several parts of the healthcare overhaul, including the mandate requiring employers to provide insurance to their employees.