While the D.C. Health Link will launch a Web site on October 1, shoppers will not have access to the their premium prices until mid-November. The delay comes after the District marketplace discovered “a high error rate” in calculating the tax credits that low- and middle-income people will use to purchase insurance on the marketplace.The insurance marketplaces, if working as planned, are supposed to spit out an estimate for a tax credit after a shopper enters in some basic information about where she lives and how much she earns. In the District, that won’t happen next month. Instead, the eligibility determination will be made “off-line by experts” by early November.
Given that DC started setting up its exchange earlier than most, this may be a sign that similar problems will be cropping up in the states before long. ACA supporters have been trotting out the idea that October 1 is a “soft launch,” with January 1 as the real deadline. New Year’s Day is when the individual mandate goes into effect, and the hope is that all of these kinks will have disappeared by then.At least that’s what the ACA’s supporters hope. You don’t get second chances at making first impressions. And public opinion on Obamacare is already so low to begin with.