News : Health Insurance Exchange Wants More Funds for Call Center
Denver, CO, USA, March 5 2015 -- The state health insurance exchange said the forecasted budget for its customer service center in fiscal year 2014-15 has increased, driven by ongoing online enrollment problems.
A previous forecast made in early February by Connect for Health Colorado staff had called for $18.1 million.
The exchange board hasn't approved any budget increase beyond the current $14.9 million.
A budget of less than $21.1 million for call centers would result in unsatisfactory service, given the volumes of calls, tax questions and other issues with the eligibility system shared by Connect for Health Colorado and the state Medicaid system, staff reported at an Operations Committee meeting.
The committee discussed two options for fixing technology problems that have delayed or stopped thousands of prospective exchange customers mid-enrollment.
"Either one could easily be $5 million," Drews said of the two proposed fixes. "Whatever we do it's going to cost some money."
Exchange officials say the biggest driver of complaints is the shared eligibility system with Medicaid, which is administered by the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. Medicaid questions generate 45 percent of calls to the customer service centers, said center manager Adele Work.
Exchange officials clashed with Health Care Policy and Financing executive director Sue Birch, who participated by telephone, over control of and responsibility for the shared eligibility system - the single online portal insurance customers enter that is supposed to determine whether applicants the qualify for Medicaid or for federal tax credits toward private insurance.
"We all agree on what needs to be fixed," said exchange technology chief Proteus Duxbury. "There are policy issues that need to be decided first."
Board member Dr. Mike Fallon said he's been unhappy with the relationship the exchange has with HCPF, which he said has a 20-year history of intractable IT problems.
"I have not felt it's a partnership," Fallon said. "I have felt we are a stepchild."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Friday, March 6, 2015