Vermont: Exchange Website Offline Ahead of Year Two Enrollment Period
On the one hand, Vermont's ACA exchange still has serious technical flaws heading into the 2nd open enrollment period this November. On the other hand, under the circumstances, this is probably the smartest move to make right now:
The Vermont Health Connect website went down Monday night and will remain offline for several weeks to allow for improvements to the user experience and data security, state officials said Tuesday.
Customers who need to report changes in income or make changes to their coverage or personal information will need to contact the customer service call center.
...None of the major functions that are still being developed will be launched when the website comes back online, said Lawrence Miller Chief of Health Care Reform.
The timeline for remaining elements, such as online changes to coverage or personal information or allowing small businesses to use the site has not changed.
Those functions are expected to launch sometime next year.
In other words, they're focusing pretty much exclusively on getting the individual enrollment process to work, which makes total sense. Taking it offline should make it much easier to monkey around with the code/structure without having to worry about keeping it up and running live in the meantime.
Requiring that changes in personal info be done manually is irritating, of course, as is the SHOP system still not working properly a year later. Vermont actually has possibly the dumbest situation of any state when it comes to SHOP: By state law, all small biz enrollments have to be run through the ACA SHOP exchange. However, the SHOP exchange doesn't work. Therefore, Governor Shumlin had to sign an executive order allowing small businesses to enroll via one of the private insurers operating in the state...the exact opposite of the legislation forbidding doing so. It looks like this is going to continue to be the case through next spring.
Anyway, as ugly as the VT situation is, at least they're recognizing their limitations and doing some reasonable triage work here. Instead of trying to get everything working (and likely failing at all of it), they're focusing on getting the main functionality working properly and foregoing the rest.