As evident from the outcome, the management of Obamacare health insurance marketplace implementation was not a strategic success. However, there is no doubt that Obamacare was a well-planned endeavor that hopefully will result in lowering of healthcare costs (as this remains to be proven), if not all other aims it had set for itself before the implementation.
Experts have highlighted some essential aspects that need to be the strategic focus for elongating the success of the act. Let’s take a look at the top six aspects that deserve lasting strategic attention from the government for maximizing the progress.
1) Exchange Navigators – Probably the most surprising success story of the ACA, the exchange navigator program has become the lifeline for the administration. When healthcare.gov experienced errors at launch, the onus fell on these exchange navigators to help people enroll with the system. Through online and paper applications, navigators have contributed a significant amount to the enrollment numbers. In the months to come, some kind of expansion of the exchange navigator program can take the administration closer to its goals of a covered America.
2) Brokers and Agencies – Although brokers and agencies were set to lose business in the wake of Obamacare, the reverse has happened. Brokers, just like exchange navigators, have become a business driver for federal marketplaces. Broker portals are one of the contributors to the enrollment numbers announced by the government recently, and it is obvious that people are flocking to these broker portals due to existing trust, marketplace navigation issues, and quality suggestions for a marketplace that can be confusing for the uninitiated. Naturally, to maximize the outcome from this means, the administration is voicing close collaboration with brokers to motivate people to utilize the services and help of seasoned brokers.
3) Direct enrollment – While direct enrollment is not fully implemented yet, the administration definitely needs to put in some strategic attention here. To provide more functionality and control to users shopping on these exchanges, the administration needs to allow subsidy allocation through private exchanges, which is only possible through direct enrollment.
4) Canceled policies – Let’s face it, the canceled policies mess came at the wrong time and added up monumentally to the administration’s problems. The latest fix to this miss was announced on December 19 when the administration stated that people whose policies have been canceled will be allowed to buy catastrophic coverage and will be exempt from tax penalties for not having insurance in 2014.
5) Back-office errors – Other than the website troubles, back-office errors is another sinister problem the administration has been dealing with since the launch launch. The problem with these errors is that they cause a successful enrollment to falter at the wrong time, leaving the applicants in a lurch over the status of their enrollment. While the technical surge initiated by the government has reduced their probability, 5 to 10 percent of applicants are still facing a failed enrollment due to the 834 transaction error. The administration needs to implement a plan that resolves this data mismatch at the backend through a strategy that does not affect the current enrollments and provides health plans with sane data that can be processed for enrollments.
6) Timeline for getting insurance – At this moment, a plan is needed to make the enrollment timeline a bit more comfortable for the Americans. A majority of applicants have faced some kind of issue with the federal marketplace, and in most cases, the problem has its roots at the administration site. To alleviate major concerns and show good faith, a strategic move is required by the administration to allow an extended period of enrollment. Since this move will upset a lot of schedules, the administration will require a lot of planning and ideation for this. However, if this is implemented well, the Obama administration has a shot at fully restoring faith into the Obamacare reform.