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letters | Obamacare’s bumpy rollout

Delays, extensions pose problems for health plans

The Oct. 28 editorial “A necessary sense of urgency on fixing Obamacare website” highlighted the importance of addressing the technical problems with the federal website. Health plans have been working closely with federal and state officials to help address the operational issues that have arisen, similar to what was done during the introduction of the Medicare prescription drug program. In the meantime, health plans also are engaged in a variety of activities to reach out to employers, individuals, and families so that they understand the options available to them.

Our state’s health plans will continue to do their part to ensure that consumers and employers have the information they need and that health care is as affordable as possible.

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However, delaying the individual mandate or extending the open enrollment period beyond March 31 would undercut these efforts, resulting in higher premiums and coverage disruptions for individuals and families next year.

Extending open enrollment beyond March 31 would prolong uncertainty in the market, making it difficult to know who is enrolled where and to accurately set rates for 2015, which must be filed in July.

Rather than suggesting delays and extensions, the focus should be on correcting the technical gaps and ensuring that consumers have the necessary tools to help them in determining the coverage that best meets their needs.

Lora Pellegrini

President and CEO

Massachusetts Association

of Health Plans

Boston

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