Colorado's Health Exchange Is Millions of Dollars Over Budget

The Obamacare insurance portal is struggling to manage costs.



Unexpectedly high call center costs for Colorado's health exchange are pushing the state's Obamacare portal way over budget. "Complex sign-up problems" have led the exchange's administrators to requirst an additional $3 million to cover the costs, according to Health News Colorado. Board members instead looked ready to approve a $2 million expansion, but only with the proviso that service improve dramatically this year. 

Call center costs were originally budgeted at $13.7 million, HCN reports. Additional emergency funding bumped that figure up to $14.9 million. But the total price tag for the state exchange's call center operations is not expected to hit $18.1 million. 

The problem is that the technology driving the state's sign-up system is a mess:

Workers at the centers are facing angry customers who desperately need help. Last year, about 4,000 people a month needed help with "life-change events" that they can't report online. Last fall, thousands of customers who could have automatically renewed plans instead called for help when they found their plans were costing significantly more because their tax subsidies had declined. Then a new sign-up system that Colorado Medicaid officials built that was supposed to be simpler instead caused problems for thousands of customers. In recent weeks, yet another snafu has emerged as exchange managers discovered that another 3,600 people who were supposed to have their plans renewed instead lost their coverage.

Exchange managers contend that the system has worked well for most people. But they've acknowledged that many have endured major problems. Each of those people has required extensive one-on-one help.

Going forward, budgeting for the state exchanges is likely to continue to be a headache. The states were built and initially run on generous federal grants, but now that the grant money has largely run dry, paying for exchange operations has become considerably more difficult—especially in situations like this, where systems unexpectedly cause problems that require extensive assistance. 

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  1. Hey, the guys at the top were certain this was a snap! How complicated can med insurance be, if it’s for the proles?
    I mean, they get sick and die, right?

    1. Anyone who did not expect higher costs…for everything,covering pre-existing conditions and supplying medical insurance to those who could not get it before, is not thinking clearly. It will bankrupt the system. Simple as that, But when the government is running it, how else will it go, except into the red!

  2. Unexpectedly high call center costs for Colorado’s health exchange….

    I told you legalizing that demon weed would be trouble!

    *shakes cane*

    /Grumpy old prohibitionist

    1. Damned kids and their wacky terbacky!

      *shits Depends? – continues hunting for Easter egs he hid last year*

      1. Easter egs

        Could you give an example?

        1. Sadl,y dementia means he can’t recall them until he finds them

          1. Mom! I didn’t know you were stopping by!

            *lurches toward UCS awkwardly*

        2. I think that went over their heads, Rich.

    1. Requirst denyed.

  3. A deceptively conceived, hastily designed and poorly implemented IT system is failing?!?

    I am shocked! Shocked, I tell you!

    1. Quick! Put these people in charge of the entire internet!

      1. Send lawyers, guns and money
        The shit has hit the fan

        1. Requirst acknowledged.

          Response loading…

    2. I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise.

      I am Jack’s colon. I give Jack cancer. Jack gets stuck in a perpetual que. I kill Jack.

  4. where systems unexpectedly cause problems that require extensive assistance.

    I think you mis-spelled “predictably”.

    1. Foreseeable consequences are not unintended!

      It’s like it’s an Iron Law, or something…

      1. It’s not an Iron Law, it’s a Cream Cheese Law.

  5. Just throwing this out there…

    Man does not live by bread alone. I have known millionaires starving for lack of the nutriment which alone can sustain all that is human in man, and I know workmen, and many so-called poor men, who revel in luxuries beyond the power of those millionaires to reach. It is the mind that makes the body rich. There is no class so pitiably wretched as that which possesses money and nothing else. Money can only be the useful drudge of things immeasurably higher than itself. Exalted beyond this, as it sometimes is, it remains Caliban still and still plays the beast. My aspirations take a higher flight. Mine be it to have contributed to the enlightenment and the joys of the mind, to the things of the spirit, to all that tends to bring into the lives of the toilers of Pittsburgh sweetness and light. I hold this the noblest possible use of wealth.

    Andrew Carnegie

    1. Sounds like a damn ivory tower 1%er to me.

  6. The best and brightest can’t revamp the way a service industry distributes its product without bungling it but a bunch of stoners do the same without any problems.

    1. Oh yeah?
      “Growers struggle with glut of legal pot in Washington state”

      MARKET FAILURE!!!!11!!!1!

  7. Obviously the solution is to simply provide whatever healthcare is required, with doctors paid directly by the government Then there’s no need to track any financial data, just the medical aspects for follow-on care.

    *** bites lip ***

    1. The only thing scarier that waking up in a Russian jail is waking up in a Russian hospital. {a coworker circa 1995}

  8. Now Bo is claiming on the Richman thread that the ACA is the biggest political abomination in his lifetime. I am sure he will be right along to preach the evils of the ACA on this thread.

    1. I will no longer replay to Bo. He is just fucking dishonest.

    2. Now Bo is claiming on the Richman thread that the ACA is the biggest political abomination in his lifetime

      Which he somehow ties to evil socons?

      1. Good question. I called him on it and said okay, show me where you have ever criticized it on here in a specific and unequivical way.

        Of course he couldn’t, so he comes up with this bull shit, if he does agree not to comment here for a week. My response of course is I post when I want to and if you can prove me wrong why would you not want to do it?

        Last I looked, he still hadn’t come up with a link. But maybe he has now. If he has, I never had seen the comment before.

      2. Nope. No links. Just more whining. I guess he has the links and doesn’t produce them and force me to admit I was wrong out of kindness or something.

    3. I’m so glad I fascr nuked him. Now if you guys could just stop mentioning him, his damnatio memoriae would be complete.

      1. People like Bo annoy me more than Tony. Tony is an idiot but he never pretends to be anything else. Joe from Lowell used to do the shit Bo would do. They always claim to be fair minded and to object to stuff the Democrats do but when challenged to give an example, they never can.

        I used to love to ask Joe to name a Democrat who is a real crap weasel. And he never could. Forgot provide a link. Joe was just a mendacious asshole, he couldn’t even do it then. He couldn’t bring himself to go after a Dem even as a way to boost his credibility as a concern troll.

        Bo is no different. If nothing else, Bo could have used my challenge to launch into some kind of a rant about how evil Obamcare is. But he couldn’t bring himself to do it. It is like a prime directive with those kinds of people. “Must not criticize a fellow traveler”.

        1. I used to love to ask Joe to name a Democrat who is a real crap weasel. And he never could.

          I should point out for people who weren’t around during the Joe era, Joe lived in Lowell MA and was a city planner employed by the city and then a ‘private’ utility.

          A city planner living in Lowell MA.

          A city planner living in Lowell MA.

          A city planner living in Lowell MA.

          The only explanations for someone in his line of work living there being unable to name crapweasel democrats are

          a) really inattentive to politics
          b) suffering from locked-in syndrome
          c) a partisan cheerleader utterly lacking in integrity.

          Which of the three options is most plausible is left as an exercise to the reader.

      2. He’s one of only 2 people I’ve got hidden.

  9. So overbudget they couldn’t even afford alt-text…

  10. First, hire an editor.

    Second, what is it about affordable that you don’t understand?

  11. Charles C.W. Cooke writes rational and intelligent post about why we worry more about radical Muslim violence than atheist violence so National Review commenters go full retard.

    “Atheism is the most violent, bloodthirsty philosophy in human history.

    If you’re a devout atheist, why NOT kill people over a parking space???”

    Indeed. That’s why the streets run red with the blood of people atheists murder over traffic disputes.

    And now an appearance from Shouty McShoutlestein:

    “I disagree. North Korea is full of athiests who want to kill Christians and Muslims and other religious people!

    This author is crazy!

    btw is it true the terrorist’s wife was an athiest too………..i wonder if the Athiest extremist was inspired by Charlie Hebdo to hate? I dont like extremist athiests—–SOME OF THEM ARE TERRORISTS IE NORTH KOREA!”

    1. what one might term an “anti-theist progressive.” Among the public figures he admired were Rachel Maddow, Bill Nye the engineer, and Neil deGrasse Tyson. Among the groups with which he identified were the Southern Poverty Law center, the Freedom from Religion Foundation, and the Huffington Post. Among those people he disliked were political conservatives, the devoutly religious, and fans of country music. … And here’s the thing: None of this matters at all. Zip. Nada. Zilch.

      I sympathize with what Cooke is saying, but the stakes are too high to take the high road. The fact that this guy was Tony made incarnate into flesh should be shouted from the rooftops until it finally penetrates the balloon of smug Progressive self-righteousness and bursts it.


      Not directed at Irish just those who think all caps makes your silly argument more believable.

      1. WAKE UP PEOPLE!

        1. Umm, I thought the preferred nomenclature was SHEEPLE.


    3. I am pretty sure it wasn’t “atheist violence” so much as “communist violence” that killed all of those people. Communists were certainly atheists. All atheists however are not communists. So why don’t we make life easier and just worry about the communists?

      1. Atheism is easier to test for than communism?

      2. The answer to that last question should be pretty obvious.

      3. Bullshit. I know plenty of lefty Christians (especially Catholics) who are basically communists.

        1. Then even more reason to worry about the communists.

    4. Atheists are restrained by the restrictions put on them by our Judeo Christian legal system. The only thing that keeps them from murdering people is that Christians have passed laws against murder and will put them in jail.

      Idk… This argument might seem reasonable to somebody…

      1. You’re considering it backwards or out of context (not subscribing, just equivocating).

        My Judeo Christian legal system is what keeps my from killing you. Without any notion of it I have trouble fathoming why I haven’t killed you and a large number of other people.

        I’d prefer to be afraid of an imaginary all powerful entity in the sky that my ancestors have been afraid of into time immemorial than imbue the state intrinsically with similar powers.

        1. I might be wrong here, but I think that was the joke.

          1. Semi-satirically, sure. I didn’t mean any ‘you’ literally, of course.

            More meant to point out that you have two belief systems that generally respect each other as being quasi/semi/mostly rational. There are billions of ways to mutate one into the other. None are rational necessarily and, when mutating one into the other, rationality, rather explicitly, is not the goal.

            Like having a police officer draw a gun and shoot a suspect because “It made sense too.” and then debating about whether it made sense because he was an Athiest or a Christian.

            1. Okay. Yeah, if the whole thing is a straight up joke rather than satire, I misunderstood.

        2. Really? Are you saying that if you were Mogwali you couldn’t use your reason to work out why you shouldn’t kill things for no good reason in between dancing with your bear friend?

  12. You wouldn’t know they were over budget by the amount of commercials on TV pushing this B.S.

  13. Unexpectedly high call center costs for Colorado’s health exchange are pushing the state’s Obamacare portal way over budget. “Complex sign-up problems” have led the exchange’s administrators to requirst an additional $3 million to cover the costs

    “What’s that bright yellow disc in the sky? Why is it so hot?”

  14. Unexpectedly high call center costs for Colorado’s health exchange are pushing the state’s Obamacare portal way over budget. “Complex sign-up problems” have led the exchange’s administrators to requirst an additional $3 million to cover the costs,

    Why does this get the soft-pedaled “unexpected” moniker? That which was predicted does not get to be called “unexpected”.

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  16. Exchange managers contend that the system has worked well for most people.

    Most people do not get sick.

  17. Like a crack addict the government got them hooked with all that free money up front. Now they are addicted. Making all those states that did not set up an exchange look very smart.

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