The health-insurance exchanges that are at the heart of the Affordable Care Act reforms are supposed to go online in less than two weeks, but there's a pretty big problem: They don't work. The software the federal government is planning on using frequently miscalculates how much people need to pay for coverage, insurance executives and other sources tell the Wall Street Journal. For many insurers, tests that began this week had been scheduled to start months ago.
"There's a blanket acknowledgment that rates are being calculated incorrectly," one executive says. "Our tech and operations people are very concerned about the problems they're seeing and the potential of them to stick around." But the administration says the exchanges will open on Oct. 1 as planned, and Medicare says it's "confident" prices will show up correctly. If things go wrong, consumers will still have the option of enrolling the old-fashioned way with paper forms, but companies are worried about making a bad first impression on consumers.