The Insurance Marketplace is slated to go online this coming October 1, and millions of uninsured citizens are getting quite excited because getting health insurance will become be as easy as online shopping, or so they think. The fact is that many states are still quite unprepared for the impending opening of their respective Marketplaces that they fall way behind of what people are expecting of them. While people are thinking that they could purchase insurance using an interface like that of an online shopping website, what they might get is a call center.
The promise was that consumers will get treated to an online shopping experience just like what Travelocity or Amazon provides when they are shopping for health insurance using their respective Marketplaces, but the truth is that when October 1 rolls in the processes involved in purchasing would still be manual. Although they would get automated in the future hopefully, this problem does not bode well for the online Insurance Marketplace.
It also does not help that people are a bit apprehensive about lumping a serious purchase as health insurance with the likes of airline tickets from Travelocity or electronics from Amazon; most of them feel that an online shopping website is not the right medium for health insurance. Purchasing insurance is a rather complicated process; buyers have to pick the right product for their needs, and they also have to figure out a way to finance the insurance plan, and other steps that would make more sense if assisted by an insurance professional. There is also the problem regarding buyers providing false information on their applications, whether intentional or not; how will the Marketplace handle these kinds of tasks?
There are still plenty of unresolved problems with the Insurance Marketplace, which is why several states are planning on scaling down their plans until these glitches are resolved. For instance, the Rhode Island Marketplace will not implement the feature allowing users to input the name of their preferred physicians to find out which insurance companies they are associated with; buyers are instead directed to the individual lists of the insurance companies to find out for themselves.
Since the Insurance Marketplace is relatively new, the problems associated with it will hopefully get resolved soon because it is expected that around 7 million uninsured citizens will be flooding in by next year, and they are all expecting to get quick service.