Obamacare’s biggest problem isn’t the troubled HealthCare.gov website anymore.
Consumers are easing up on criticism of government exchanges and turning their frustration and fury toward some of the nation’s biggest health insurers. All too often, new policyholders say, the companies can’t confirm coverage, won’t answer basic questions, and haven’t issued identification numbers needed to fill prescriptions or get medical care.
Day after day, people say, they contact insurance company call centers waiting hours at a time with no response. Meantime, insurers have already taken many customers’ payments for coverage intended to take effect Jan. 1.
Stupid insurance companies! There’s no way this backlog could have been caused by the utter incompetence of the Obama administration in failing to ready the Web site and forcing last-minute changes on insurance companies due to the administration’s own mismanagement. Right?
The story raises the possibility very quickly, only to immediately bat it down with a quote from some random chucklehead:
Industry officials say the disastrous launch of the federal exchange and the ever-changing rules from the Obama administration have complicated their job and contributed to the backlog.
“Health plans have gone above and beyond to protect consumers from disruptions caused by the ongoing problems with HealthCare.gov” and some state exchanges, said Robert Zirkelbach, spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, an industry group. “The last-minute changes to deadlines and rules have made the process more complicated and time-consuming.”
But some consumers think big insurers had plenty of opportunity to get ready.
“Insurance companies of this size should have been far better prepared. They knew it was coming,” said Katherine Kokko, 34, a public-health consultant in New Hampshire.
It’s a beautiful thing to watch this newspaper cover for Obama, isn’t it?