The White House on Monday explained the administration’s new goal of having 80 percent of users being able to buy health plans online, acknowledging that the healthcare.gov website will not be “perfect.”
White House spokesman Jay Carney said the administration expected that some consumers would choose not to use the website for reasons unrelated to the technical issues that have plagued healthcare.gov. Carney also stressed that those unable or unwilling to navigate the website would still have other options for joining the federal insurance marketplace.
“Our goal is to make the website have as few problems as possible so that most Americans can gain access to affordable, quality health insurance as possible,” said Carney.
Over the weekend, the Washington Post reported the 80 percent figure as the White House goal for restoring the troubled website by Nov. 30, citing government and industry officials familiar with the project.
Among the 20 percent who will not be able to sign up for the federal exchanges through the website, Carney said, will be some who are experiencing technical difficulties, delayed response times or website stability issues.
Other users may decide not to enroll on the website because they are not as familiar with signing up for products online, and some people whose family situation is “complex” may choose to call in their applications or go to an in-person walk-in center.
“They may decide to use the different method of enrolling not because of the website, but they may have children seeking to get covered that live in different states, or because some members of their family may be eligible for Medicaid and others who don’t,” he said.
Under heavy questioning about the 80 percent figure, Carney conceded that the website will never be “perfect.”
Like any website, he said, “there will be some individuals who experience technical difficulties sometimes.”
The botched website has led to enrollment figures well below expectations and threatens to undercut support for President Obama’s signature achievement. The administration initially said the website would be working “smoothly” for the “vast majority” of consumers by the end of November.