Obamacare Website Flaws Mounting [POLL/AUDIO]
The concerns over the Affordable Care Act website continue to mount in Washington and it goes beyond simple glitches.
Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill grilled U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius yesterday during a House Energy and Commerce Committee because a government memo shows administration officials were warned that there was a potentially 'high' security risk for the website.
During yesterday's hearing, one lawmaker said the personal financial information of Americans could be at risk. "Amazon would never do this," said Rep. Mike Rogers from Michigan. "ProFlowers would never do this. Kayak would never do this. This is completely an unacceptable level of security."
If the security issues can't be fixed, some are worried they could be more serious than the laundry list of technical problems the administration is already trying to address.
In New Jersey, a coalition of citizen groups and health care advocates are offering help. They insist health care exchange enrollment is possible in several ways despite the attention surrounding glitches to the health care.gov enrollment website.
"New Jerseyans need to know that despite the problems with the healthcare.gov website, enrollment assisters around the state are completing applications for enrollment through effective, alternate means," said Maura Collinsgru, a health policy advocate with New Jersey Citizen Action. "The ACA (Affordable Care Act) enrollment effort in New Jersey is making headway."
There are more than 900,000 eligible uninsured residents in New Jersey, more than a third of whom are eligible for coverage under the Medicaid expansion. The coalition is promoting the New Jersey Family Care website as an alternate means for low-income consumers to apply for coverage now.
"There has been a lot of focus on the glitches in the Marketplace, but the state's website for the Medicaid expansion seems to be working just fine," said Ray Castro, a senior policy analyst with New Jersey Policy Perspective. "It is important that anyone who is eligible for the Medicaid expansion apply now so that they can be sure to obtain their health coverage starting Jan. 1. Medicaid is a great deal for struggling low income uninsured New Jerseyans because there is no cost to them and the benefits are very comprehensive."
Consumers have six months to enroll, but those who apply by Dec. 15 will have coverage effective Jan. 1.
Garden State residents who meet the income guidelines for NJ Family Care, don't need to wait to apply for coverage. Applications can be completed on line at www.njfamilycare.org or by calling 1-800-701-0710.
By clicking on "Get in-person help in your community" at healthcare.gov, consumers can locate the nearest agency providing enrollment assistance. New Jersey Citizen Action's Consumer Health Helpline can help answer questions and refer consumers to local navigators and other enrollment assistors around the state. The number is 1-888-NJ GET WELL.