Monday, November 11, 2013

Sherpa Health vs. Obamacare and Healthcare.gov

 

One thing for certain (if there is any) is that “Obamacare” elicits a guttural reaction for many people.  If you are in favor of it then you might be a left wing liberal, a socialist, or maybe even a ‘Pinko”.  If you are against it then you are a right wing conservative, possibly a racist, or worse.

A lofty goal, to insure all our citizens should be removed from the  political stage.

Not only was Nancy Pelosi correct in her statement “We won’t know what is in it until we pass it”.  Even after it’s passage into law most people will not find out what is in it until they look over the policies on the Healthcare.gov website (if you can use it).   The ultimate test is how badly you want it….using the web site is a mixed experience. On some days it works, partially, on other days it is like the old Microsoft “blue screen of death”…

The latest exciting news is that a ‘band of brothers’ has a website named “Sherpa Health” It took three 20 something's and three weeks to created the site.

To quote from the web site, “"The Health Sherpa is a free guide that makes it easier to find and sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. We only use carefully vetted, publicly available data," the site reads. "The Health Sherpa is not affiliated with any lobby, trade group or government agency and has no political agenda."

I tried Covered California, then the National Healthcare.gov to start.  It took several days, however I think I am registered, however there was no way to immediately confirm my registration.  There was a rather vague message about how I wanted to be notified, email, telephone, regular mail (or morse code….just kidding)

Three Guys Built a Better Healthcare.gov    and while it does not have some of the complexity and linkages to ‘back end’ processes of HHS, IRS and eligibility authorizations it serves as a very friendly usable site for the ‘unintelligent’ (including me)

"It isn't a fair apples-to-apples comparison," Kalogeropoulos said. "Unlike Healthcare.gov, our site doesn't connect to the IRS, DHS, and various state exchanges and authorities. Furthermore, we're using the government's data, so our site is only possible because of the hard work that the Healthcare.gov team has done."

But it does cast light on the difference between what can be done by a small group of experts, steeped in Silicon Valley's anything-is-possible mentality, and a massive government project in which politics and bureaucracy seem to have helped create an unwieldy mess.

HHS and CMS spent hundreds of millions of dollars to erect Healthcare.gov.  For a few dollars less (reportedly for a few hundred dollars).  Sherpa Health does give credit to HHS for the background data bank which is used by Sherpa Health.

Even at this early date there have been surprises, insurance cancellations, healthcare.gov failures, and there will be more regarding penalties, individual mandates, employer mandates, and conflicts such as HIPAA regulations. The early success or failure may be a telltale sign for the financial future of the Affordable Care Act.

Good luck to us all.

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