New health chief revamps HealthCare.gov
|By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR, Associated Press|
Health and Human Services Secretary
Taken together, the moves will "further instill ongoing accountability for reaching milestones, measuring results and delivering results for the American people," Burwell said in a statement.
"This is a good move that should have occurred two years ago," said
Hiring a CEO for the insurance expansion had been strongly urged by the
The administration has signed up 8 million people in the law's new insurance markets offering subsidized private plans. But last fall's rollout of HealthCare.gov was paralyzed by technology problems, creating a major political embarrassment for the
A rescue mission led by management consultant
The new HHS operations manager appointed by Burwell on Friday is a contractor executive who worked closely with Zients to turn the website around.
In his new role, Slavitt will oversee operational issues involving all the major HHS programs, including
Among the issues facing Burwell and her department:
—AUTOMATIC RE-ENROLLMENT. If you're happy with your HealthCare.gov plan, and you don't have changes in income or family status, can you just check a box and keep everything the same for 2015? Because of the complexity of the law, it may not be as easy.
If those already enrolled have to complete another cumbersome application, it could jam the website and call centers at a time when millions of first-timers will also be trying to sign up.
—E-COMMERCE 101. HealthCare.gov got low marks for customer friendliness during 2014's open enrollment. Many consumers had a hard time finding out whether their doctors and hospitals participated in a particular plan, or whether their medications were covered. Consumer groups are clamoring for improvements.
— "BACK ROOM" PROBLEMS. Many of the glitches affecting the consumer part of HealthCare.gov got straightened out, but insurers say they still face numerous technology issues. There's no streamlined process for consumers to report life changes, no automated system for paying premium subsidies to the plans.
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