The government website designed to walk individuals through the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) health insurance marketplace has been fraught with issues since it’s unveiling on October 1st. Not only was there no Spanish-language Obamacare site available for individuals in need of bilingual services, only 10 percent of people who accessed the site could actually make it through the enrollment process.
According to U.S. Health and Human Services spokeswoman Joanne Peters the administration plans a quiet launch of the Spanish enrollment tools in early December without much advertising, as reported by the Associated Press. As with the main English-language site, there is no guarantee the projected launch date will actually come to fruition.
What is wrong with the Spanish-language Obamacare site?
HealthCare.gov, the portal to all things health exchange related, experienced some major technical glitches during the first month it opened for public access. According to a report from the CS Monitor, the technology team contracted to get the health insurance website back up and running, there was no way to determine when all the issues with the website could be addressed. Before the Spanish-language portion of the website could be fixed, the main portal needed adjustment.
Investigation into the HealthCare.gov website indicates poor internal coding and a serious lack of pre-run test time are to blame for the Obamacare website failure. The pre-run testing, which should have taken upwards of 4 months, was only allocated two weeks prior to the website launch.
“We want the English language web page to be up and running and to be successful. Once we have that, then we want the Spanish language one to be up and running,” said to AP Jane Delgado of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health. “People are frustrated when they can’t complete enrollment.”
But the English-language aspect of HealthCare.gov isn’t fully function yet, and experts indicate that part of the website might not be ready until the end of November or early December. The launch of the Spanish-language Obamacare site will come on the heels of the main site’s success, as officials want Spanish-language users to be able to provide feedback once everything is up and running.
“We think it’s important to engage with key stakeholders and organizations in this process and get their feedback,” Joanne Peters, the HHS spokeswoman, said to AP, indicating after feedback is received more targeted efforts can be made. “We will ramp up our promotional efforts to drive Spanish speakers to CuidadoDeSalud.gov (the Spanish version of HealthCare.gov).”
Approximately 0.2 million uninsured Hispanics will gain eligibility for coverage through the health insurance marketplace, and while the majority of those individual speak English or are bilingual, but 3.7 million rely on Spanish.
For now, phone and in-person assistance are available for individuals who need to complete health insurance enrollment.
This article originally appeared on VOXXI under the title "Spanish-language Obamacare site expected to be functional in December."
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