The states pushing for an Obamacare extension

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Nevada Health Link opened for business on Oct. 1, along with HealthCare.gov and several other state-based exchanges. Like many marketplaces, the Silver State’s exchange experienced serious glitches that prevented residents from enrolling in an Obamacare plan, and even lost commission payment information for registered agents and brokers.

However, unlike HealthCare.gov, Nevada’s exchange didn’t markedly improve with time. Officials on the exchange board say up to 300,000 people may have tried to choose a plan through the Xerox-designed marketplace, but were prevented by serious program errors. Currently, just 22,000 Nevadans have successfully enrolled and paid for health policies.

In response to the difficulties, the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange Board voted Thursday to stay open for business 60 days past the March 30 deadline. Las Vegas agency owner Larry Harrison is relieved.

“It’s such a long, laborious process and I experience errors every day, all day long,” Harrison said. “I absolutely thing [extending the deadline] is the right thing to do. Here these people are doing their best to stay in compliance, and if Xerox was too inept to put together a workable system, they should have an extra few days to get coverage.”

Harrison’s story is not unique among producers, and neither is Nevada’s—at least among state exchanges.

While President Obama and Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius have repeatedly avowed that the March 31 deadline is final, officials in Maryland, Vermont, Massachusetts and Oregon are all toying with the possibility of extending the deadline to people who can prove they attempted to enroll in a plan, but were thwarted by website malfunctions.

Even CMS officials are said to be considering a potential extension for enrollees through HealthCare.gov, which services about two-thirds of Americans.

Not all producers share Harrison’s support for a deadline extension, however.

“I don’t know that [an extended enrollment period] is really needed,” said Neil Crosby, a spokesman for the National Association of Health Underwriters. “Yes, there have been plenty of times where HealthCare.gov hasn’t worked properly, but I think there’s been plenty of time since then that people have been successfully enrolling.”

With the help of independent agents, navigators and other community resources, those who wanted to should have been able to enroll by now, and agents are ready to take a well-deserved break, he said.

“There’s been six full months,” Crosby stressed. “I think the agents feel that’s plenty of time and that they’ve made themselves plenty available.”

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  • Norm Strehlow, CIC on 3/21/2014 11:57:00 AM

    It's time for agents to start "Class Action" litigation against the Federal & State Governments for their negligence in creating & administering this mess!!!!!!

  • Norm Strehlow, CIC on 3/21/2014 11:57:09 AM

    It's time for agents to start "Class Action" litigation against the Federal & State Governments for their negligence in creating & administering this mess!!!!!!

  • Tracy on 3/21/2014 12:32:27 PM

    Gla

  • Annie G on 3/21/2014 1:05:27 PM

    We do not need to extend the deadline, people will only wait so each time it gets extended they just wait again. It think it is time for the agents to be able to go back to taking care of their real clients. Where we get paid for doing our job. Many of us are not getting paid at this time for the clients that we put on the Exchange, and if we are they are very few and far between.

  • Rhonda N on 3/22/2014 2:40:06 PM

    I totally agree with Annie G. It seems people think it should be a drive thru nearly free insurance. I worry when they need to pay a deductible.

  • Uncle George Jenkins on 3/22/2014 10:36:37 PM

    I have had clients who considered getting insurance because they had some real bad pre-existing conditions but once give a quote for the insurance decided against it because they could not or would not have or spend the money!!!
    It it clear that there is not an insurance salesman in the whole Obama administration who has any idea on how to sell Health Insurance to someone who has never had coverage before, see no need for coverage, who has always use the "FREE" emergency room in time a need and who now would rather pay the $95 penalty, if anything, for NOT buying the insurance.
    More time is not needed for a bad idea, it will really "Hit the Fan" once March 31st hits next week.
    We can only blame the senators that shoved this down the throats of all american's. We are not Canadians or Brits and we don't have to take it anymore. Vote them out and cancel their contract. then, we can repeal the whole 2600 pages and the over 30,000 page of Regs generated by this law.
    How many people have to die at an intersection before a STOP SIGN goes up?
    How may people have to die at the failure of having hospital refuse to treat cancer patients before we decide to "STOP OBAMACARE"?
    Look in the mirror, if you voted to put him in for a second term, you share the blame for the MESS he has made of out "Health System" and the Health Insurance industry!
    The Navigators will go away and start flipping hamburgers again, we the license agent will have to treat the victims of this mess for years to come. We can do better than this America!

  • ChrystalSkougard on 3/23/2014 12:38:23 AM

    I am ready to end the enrollment madness. I think they need sometime still to fix/create their internal processes, systems, and the website. With only 22000 reportedly enrolled, we could have been more sucessful and effective pushing good old fashion paper.

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