The White House is trying to quickly address a series of "pricing quirks" in the software that will be used for the roughly three dozen federal health insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act, according the Wall Street Journal. The online marketplaces are scheduled to open for enrollment on October 1.
According to the unidentified executives and sources, the software cannot reliably determine the costs that consumers would have to pay for coverage. They also noted that testing of the software began behind schedule.
The news about the software pricing glitches comes after representatives of four CMS contractors involved in developing and implementing the exchanges testified before the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee that the marketplaces will be ready by October 1. An estimated 32 million uninsured people who are being targeted as beneficiaries of the exchanges live in the 36 states where the federal government is operating an exchange.
The long-term consequences of any software glitches in registration or pricing might be limited, because consumers would still be able to sign up offline, even if the online exchanges are not fully functional. Consumers have until mid-December to enroll in the marketplaces for policies that take effect on January 1, 2014. The open enrollment period is scheduled to end in March 2014.