Montana Insurance Commissioner Worried Healthcare.gov Problems Could be Critical [AUDIO]
Montana's Commissioner of Insurance Monica Lindeen hasn't been shy recently in her criticism of the federal health exchange website roll out.
Lindeen told a group of state legislators on Tuesday, October 22, that the website's failure is hard to take.
"I'm glad the president acknowledged what everybody in Montana already knows," Lindeen said. "The federal insurance marketplace website isn't working. This is unacceptable."
Lindeen expanded her comments on Wednesday, October 23, by heaping criticism on whoever is responsible for the website's technology. In fact, Lindeen expressed great concern over whether the website could be fixed at all.
"Having been a business owner involved in the IT industry, what really concerns me is that now that we're three weeks into this and they haven't been able to fix what they say are 'glitches,' it makes me think that it's critical," Lindeen said. "Critical means, depending on the situation, it might not be fixable. You would have thought that HHS would have brought in the best and the brightest IT companies to the job, but instead, maybe we had third-graders who programmed this."
That being said, Lindeen is still a strong supporter of the president's healthcare plan commonly known as Obamacare.
"The products that are being sold in this new marketplace are good products," Lindeen said. "All the policies from all the insurance companies had to come through my office. We've reviewed them, we've reviewed the rates, and we know they're good solid products."
Lindeen expressed her opposition to delaying the implementation of the individual mandate.
"If you put this on hold, people in high-risk groups will end up paying much more, because the younger, healthier people will have no incentive to sign up, which would bring the costs down for the entire pool," Lindeen said. "People would then sign up for insurance only after an accident or illness, so now you're hurting the insurance companies by allowing people to enroll only when they need it."
Lindeen said those who are having trouble accessing the federal website can log onto the Montana Insurance Commissioner site to see a breakdown of costs for various policies.
"Those are accurate, however, they do not include any of the tax credits that people may qualify for," Lindeen said. "If people don't want to wait until the website is fixed, they can call the toll-free number listed on healthcare.gov, or download forms, fill them out and mail them in."
That toll-free number is 1-800-318-2596.