Health Plan Marketplace Website Irons Out Kinks

By Sarah Matheson, Epoch Times
September 29, 2013 10:39 pm Last Updated: October 5, 2013 2:33 pm

NEW YORK—The website developers for NY State of Health’s official insurance marketplace have been “rigorously testing the system” to make sure there won’t be any problems on Tuesday at 8 a.m. when the website goes live for enrollments.

Alice Yaker, director of community outreach for NY State of Health, assured residents, medial professionals, and local community officials at an information session on Friday that everything would be ready for the launch.

On Thursday afternoon, the premium estimate calculator was taken offline temporarily “for upgrades,” Yaker said. She would not comment on whether there was a problem with the estimates that had been given to individuals who had already accessed the website.

Updates that were added to the estimate calculator Thursday include allowing people to see the income limits for individuals and families that make them eligible for the federal tax credits that can reduce monthly premium payments.

The calculator does not give an estimate of how much insurance costs if an individual earns over $45,960, or $94,200 or more for a family of four.

One health plan provider told Reuters that New York’s exchange is unable to immediately transfer data to some insurers, so the data may have to be sent manually. The glitch would not affect customers, the provider said.

New York’s website was designed by Forum One Communications, which is headquartered in Washington, D.C. (Alexandria, Va.) and has offices in San Francisco and Seattle. The developer and host of New York’s website is Computer Sciences Corp.

Reports quoting sources from the Obama administration said that federal websites in other states had some technical problems but that individuals would be able to enroll online on Tuesday morning.

Thirty-six states are using the federal government’s website in part or full to run exchanges. Small business owners in those states, such as New Jersey, will not be able to go online to enroll their employees in plans until Nov. 1. They will still be able to enroll with an in-person assistant.

The exchange in Colorado and the one in Washington, D.C., which is running its own exchange, has had problems calculating federal subsidies. Both exchanges have said they will need another couple of weeks or a month before people can start enrolling in health plans online.

Oregon’s marketplace had so many technical problems that currently only trained in-person assistants will be able to enroll people.

On Tuesday, the enrollment part of New York’s website will launch at 8 a.m. and the call-in center will start accepting enrollments at the same time.

The marketplace website is, and the customer service center is available now to answer questions toll free at 1-855-355-5777. 

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Forum One Communications developed New York’s current website. Actually, Computer Sciences Corp. developed the website. Forum One Communications, did, however, provide the design.