Although the Affordable Care Act is now the law of the land, the fight is far from over. Yesterday's launch of insurance marketplace websites saw some hiccups, including long wait times as people jammed onto the sites to sign up for coverage.
Now, the state says, there's another problem: for some families, using the marketplace sites could lead to a delay in children’s healthcare coverage.
According to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, families who qualify for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that try to buy insurance through the marketplace were supposed to have their information forwarded information to individual states, which handle applications for Medicaid and CHIP. But due to what HHSC is calling in a press release a "glitch” in the system, the federal exchange may not yet be ready to forward that information to states.
"We knew that it was a little dicey there. The testing for it kept getting delayed, and then shortly before the marketplace launched, they [Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services] let all states know that they wouldn't be able to make those transfers," says Stephanie Goodman with the Texas HHSC.
Officials are encouraging families who qualify for Medicaid or CHIP to apply instead through the state website, YourTexasBenefits.com.
"Eventually, it's not going to matter where families apply," says Goodman. "But right now it still does. If we want to get those kids covered faster, you need to apply at the state."