November 18, 2013:
The White House announced Monday that it was working with insurers on a HealthCare.Gov workaround.
Press secretary Jay Carney said part of the administration’s response to those frustrated by the error-ridden ObamaCare website would be to allow insurance companies to directly sign-up consumers that qualify for federal tax subsidies.
Consumers could previously purchase plans approved under the Affordable Care Act directly from an insurance company, but if they qualified for tax credits, were required to go through the federal exchanges on HealthCare.Gov to take advantage of them.
The proposed fix could cut the broken federal website out of the equation for many consumers. Supporters of the healthcare law initially opposed the workaround because one of the primary benefits of the healthcare website is that shoppers can see all of the options available to them in one place; something that they won’t have going directly to one insurer.
Carney on Monday sold the change as part of the administration’s push to provide “alternate channels” to those seeking healthcare coverage. As the website failed to launch properly on Oct. 1, the administration has argued that people can apply over the phone, through the mail, and in-person.
“We are having conversations with insurers all the time about that and other issues,” Carney said. “All with the goal of maximizing the options available to Americans when it comes to enrolling in and purchasing quality, affordable… health insurance.”
“We have made clear shared frustration with the problems that the website has experienced,” he added. “But we have to make sure that there are other means available for the American people, even as we make improvements to the website.”