News Column

Government Delays Small Business Health Signups

November 28, 2013

Legal Monitor Worldwide

President Obama signature health care program has another setback.
President Obama signature health care program has another setback.

The Obama administration is delaying yet another aspect of its troubled health care law, putting off until next November the launch of an online portal to the health insurance marketplace for small businesses until the hobbled HealthCare.gov website is fixed.

The move, announced Wednesday, was needed because repairs are still underway to the federal website, which is the primary way for individuals to apply for insurance, and that has priority, federal officials said.

Wednesday's setback was the latest in a stream of missed deadlines, which has proven politically costly for Obama as his signature domestic achievement comes under withering criticism for its bungled rollout.

The administration also postponed a Spanish-language sign-up tool this week. It recently pushed back the enrollment deadline for individuals: People who sign up by Dec. 23 can get coverage that starts on Jan. 1. In an earlier delay, businesses with more than 50 workers were given until 2015 to meet the requirement to provide health insurance without paying a penalty. And the deadline date for individuals to avoid penalties for failing to get coverage was pushed back six weeks.

All Americans must now purchase health insurance. Those who can't afford it can receive subsidies in states that accepted federal money, though several governed by Republicans did not.

When it launched Oct. 1, the HealthCare.gov site was crippled by technical glitches and froze computer screens across America. The site, where individuals without employer-sponsored health care can shop for insurance, is now smoothly handling 25,000 users at the same time and is on track to meet its goal of handling 50,000 simultaneous users by Saturday, said administration spokeswoman Julie Bataille. "We have a lot of work left to do in the next few days," she said.

The administration, responding to yet another controversy, had earlier announced it will allow insurance companies to extend for another year coverage under individual policies that don't meet new coverage requirements. That move was a response to anger over a wave of more than 4 million policy cancellations. Obama officials pledge that consumers will get better coverage for their through new plans.

Republicans, who were pummeled in public opinion polls after failing to derail Obamacare with last month's partial government shutdown, have been rejuvenated by the program's problems and have accused the administration of shifting deadlines for political reasons.

The move, announced Wednesday, was needed because repairs are still underway to the federal website, which is the primary way for individuals to apply for insurance, and that has priority, federal officials said.

Wednesday's setback was the latest in a stream of missed deadlines, which has proven politically costly for Obama as his signature domestic achievement comes under withering criticism for its bungled rollout.

The administration also postponed a Spanish-language sign-up tool this week. It recently pushed back the enrollment deadline for individuals: People who sign up by Dec. 23 can get coverage that starts on Jan. 1. In an earlier delay, businesses with more than 50 workers were given until 2015 to meet the requirement to provide health insurance without paying a penalty. And the deadline date for individuals to avoid penalties for failing to get coverage was pushed back six weeks.

All Americans must now purchase health insurance. Those who can't afford it can receive subsidies in states that accepted federal money, though several governed by Republicans did not.

When it launched Oct. 1, the HealthCare.gov site was crippled by technical glitches and froze computer screens across America. The site, where individuals without employer-sponsored health care can shop for insurance, is now smoothly handling 25,000 users at the same time and is on track to meet its goal of handling 50,000 simultaneous users by Saturday, said administration spokeswoman Julie Bataille. "We have a lot of work left to do in the next few days," she said.

The administration, responding to yet another controversy, had earlier announced it will allow insurance companies to extend for another year coverage under individual policies that don't meet new coverage requirements. That move was a response to anger over a wave of more than 4 million policy cancellations. Obama officials pledge that consumers will get better coverage for their through new plans.

Republicans, who were pummeled in public opinion polls after failing to derail Obamacare with last month's partial government shutdown, have been rejuvenated by the program's problems and have accused the administration of shifting deadlines for political reasons.


For more stories covering politics, please see HispanicBusiness' Politics Channel



Source: (c) 2013 Legal Monitor Worldwide. All Rights Reserved.Provided by Syndigate.info, an Albawaba.com company


Story Tools






HispanicBusiness.com Facebook Linkedin Twitter RSS Feed Email Alerts & Newsletters