Insurers Seek to Bypass Health Site

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Administration Officials Acknowledged ‘More Work to Be Done’.

Insurers and some states are continuing to look for ways to bypass the balky technology underpinning the health-care law despite the Obama administration’s claim Sunday that it had made “dramatic progress” in fixing the federal insurance website.

Federal officials said they had largely succeeded in repairing parts of the site that had most snarled users in the two months since its troubled launch, but acknowledged they only had begun to make headway on the biggest underlying problems: the system’s ability to verify users’ identities and accurately transmit enrollment data to insurers.

One of the leading states operating its own exchange is considering ways to decouple itself from the federal infrastructure it relies on to confirm residents’ eligibility for federal tax credits. That technology has been affected by planned and unplanned outages.

James Wadleigh, chief information officer of Connecticut’s exchange, said he was looking at having a new vendor support identity verification in addition to the federal vendor. He also said he wanted to be able to tap state databases, such as the labor department’s, to validate incomes and was seeking a way to prove people were legal residents without depending on U.S. data.

Mr. Wadleigh said he wants Connecticut to be self-reliant and serve its residents even when the federal government has to take down parts of its technology for maintenance. Some other states are watching his effort.

Insurers also are telling the administration they want more help to work around the federal system so they can enroll many customers directly.

The U.S. has begun a pilot program with insurers in three big states—Florida, Ohio and Texas—to identify problems in the current system, in which insurance companies still have to send would-be customers briefly to the site to verify their eligibility for financial assistance, where many have become stuck. The government describes the direct-signup effort as a way to give consumers more choice in gaining coverage.

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