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As Obama Visits Maryland, A Look At How The MD ObamaCare Website Is Failing Marylanders

- January 29, 2014

Democrat Governor Martin O’Malley Promised That Maryland’s State ObamaCare Exchange Would “Lead The Nation.” “Barely 24 hours after President Obama signed his landmark health law, Gov. Martin O’Malley promised that Maryland would ‘lead the nation’ in putting it in place. … But when Tuesday arrived, Maryland’s Web site stumbled badly. People couldn’t log on, forcing state officials to delay the opening of the exchange for four hours. Even after it opened, many frustrated users were unable to create accounts, the first step in buying coverage. All told, fewer than 100 people have managed to enroll.” (Lena H. Sun, “Maryland’s Health Insurance Web Site Stumbles Badly In First Days,” The Washington Post, 10/4/13)

  • Maryland’s ObamaCare Exchange Problems May Likely Tarnish The “Political Image Of Gov. Martin O’Malley.” “The troubles hitting Maryland's health exchange could have a lasting impact by tarnishing the political image of Gov. Martin O'Malley and his handpicked successor, Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, according to experts assessing elections in 2014 and beyond. For O'Malley, who is contemplating a White House bid, the crisis could test his credentials as a data-driven and technologically savvy leader. Brown, who made his leadership on health care reform a selling point in his candidacy for governor, risks being overshadowed by O'Malley in publicizing efforts to repair the website.” (Erin Cox, “Faltering Exchange Could Mean Trouble For O’Malley, Brown,” Baltimore Sun, 12/24/13)

Maryland’s $107 Million ObamaCare Exchange Website Continues To Be Plagued By Glitches. “Maryland's $107 million online insurance marketplace crashed on its launch Oct. 1, and problems continued into this week with Monday's hours-long shutdown. Plagued by technical problems and feuding contractors, the website still has not delivered on its promise to be a national model for health care.” (Erin Cox, “Faltering Exchange Could Mean Trouble For O’Malley, Brown,” Baltimore Sun, 12/24/13)

  • Website Problems Kept Up To 5,000 Health Care Consumers From Enrolling In Maryland’s Exchange Before The January 1 Deadline. “The state’s marylandhealthconnection.gov website crashed shortly after it launched Oct. 1 and was barely functional for much of the month. While the website has since improved, Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown said Tuesday at a state House committee hearing in Annapolis that  ‘a few hundred to upward of 5,000’ people weren’t able to enroll by Jan. 1 because of the technical troubles.” (Jennifer Corbett Dooren, “Maryland Won’t Switch Over To Healthcare.gov,” The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire, 1/14/14)

The Executive Director Of Maryland’s ObamaCare Exchange Resigned Two Months After The Launch

The Maryland Official In Charge Of The State’s Health Insurance Exchange Resigned “Amid Continuing Technical Problems That Have Hampered The State’s Online Enrollment Efforts.” “The Maryland official who directly oversaw the rollout of Maryland’s health insurance exchange resigned Friday amid continuing technical problems that have hampered the state’s online enrollment efforts. After an emergency session Friday night, the board of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange accepted the resignation of Rebecca Pearce, its executive director, and thanked her in a statement for working ‘tirelessly and with tremendous dedication’ for more than two years.” (John Wagner And Lena H. Sun, “Rebecca Pearce, Director Of Maryland’s Ailing Health Insurance Exchange, Resigns,” The Washington Post, 12/6/13)

Democrat Congressman John Delaney (D-MD) Has Lost Faith In The State’s ObamaCare Exchange

Representative John Delaney (D-MD) Has Asked Maryland Officials Twice To Switch The State To ObamaCare’s Federal Exchange. “Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) on Tuesday asked Maryland state officials to switch to the federally run health insurance exchange while problems with the Maryland Health Connection are fixed. Delaney has made this request before, but said state officials have not answered him even though the situation with the state-run service has not improved.” (Pete Kasperowicz, “House Dem: Move Maryland To Federal Health Insurance Exchange,” The Hill’s Health Watch, 1/21/14)

  • Representative Delaney (D-MD) Called Problems With Maryland’s ObamaCare As “Extremely Troubling.”  “‘[I]t is extremely troubling that major problems with the Maryland Health Connection persist,’ he wrote to Josh Sharfstein, Maryland's Secretary of Health & Mental Hygiene. ‘The latest malfunction dates not to 2012 or 2013, but to this month and occurs within an area of the rollout – Medicaid enrollment – that was supposedly functioning well.’” (Pete Kasperowicz, “House Dem: Move Maryland To Federal Health Insurance Exchange,” The Hill’s Health Watch, 1/21/14)

It Took A Baltimore Sun Reporter 2 Days To Sign Up For ObamaCare On A Glitch-Filled Maryland Website

Although Democrat Governor Martin O’Malley Recently Told Marylanders That The ObamaCare Website Is Functional, A Reporter For The Baltimore Sun Struggled For Two Days To Sign Up For Coverage. “For a chunk of two recent days, I tried to buy insurance on the Maryland health exchange. My editors asked me to do this because Gov. Martin O'Malley recently told a national television audience that the ‘website is now functional for most citizens.’ My own enrollment took 5 hours and 22 minutes over two days, two calls to the exchange's call center, seven times entering my personal information, two computers and two web browsers.” (Meredith Cohn, “Technical Problems Mar Insurance Purchase,” The Baltimore Sun, 1/27/14)

The Sun Reporter Experienced Frozen Screens And Had To Input Her Personal Information Numerous Times When Attempting To Sign Up. “For this, I had to tell her my Social Security number, after having already typed it into the exchange website twice. Security was a main concern of a consultant hired to monitor progress on the exchange's development, but officials later assured me that workers are background-checked and personal information is encrypted in secured databases. So I re-entered my information again. Then the site froze. Before I could shop for plans, I switched computers twice, and changed browsers — from Firefox, which the call center recommended, to Explorer, suggested by Lawrence E. Burgee, chair of Stevenson University's Department of Information Systems. He teaches a class on the exchanges.” (Meredith Cohn, “Technical Problems Mar Insurance Purchase,” The Baltimore Sun, 1/27/14)

After Signing Up, The Reporter Was Unable To Choose A Doctor And A Glitch Made It Appear That They Had Signed Up For Two Accounts. “I wasn't able to pick a doctor, a link officials later said is still not functional. Also not yet fixed is a glitch that made it appear that I had two accounts; the exchange wanted to know how I was related to myself.” (Meredith Cohn, “Technical Problems Mar Insurance Purchase,” The Baltimore Sun, 1/27/14)

Near The End Of The Enrollment Process, The Reporter’s Signature Didn’t Match Her The Name On Her Own Account. “When I finally hit the enroll button, an error message said the first name in my electronic signature didn't match the first name of the client seeking coverage.” (Meredith Cohn, “Technical Problems Mar Insurance Purchase,” The Baltimore Sun, 1/27/14)

Throughout The Enrollment, The Reporter Faced Serious Glitches And Confusion. “On day two, I went right to the phone queue for customer service, and another agent determined I was using an electronic application meant only for those receiving subsidies. According to the customer service rep, I had tapped on ‘click here to apply now’ in large letters at the top of the page and not on ‘purchase plans without financial assistance’ in smaller type to the side.” (Meredith Cohn, “Technical Problems Mar Insurance Purchase,” The Baltimore Sun, 1/27/14)

Maryland’s ObamaCare Website Mistakenly Sent Health Customers To A Seattle, Washington Pottery Business

 


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