Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tech, Insurance, and HC.gov

For a while now, we've been using a service call FormFire to get competitive quotes for small group clients. Basically, the agent and the employer each sign up with the service, and each employee is given a secure sign-in to enter health and other information. Once that's collated, the agent advises the FormFire folks which carriers to quote. There's a nominal fee involved, which the agent foots.

That's the short story version, but one can imagine all the back-end requirements necessary to make this work: HIPAA and other privacy requirements, collation and verification of data, making sure the info is formatted correctly for each carrier, etc. And of course there's the front-end: ease of use for the would-be client is a must, and participating employees must also trust that their personal and financial info is secure.

Sounds familiar, no?

FormFire's CEO just published a piece on the company's blog sharing his perspective on the Exchange roll-out train-wreck, and he speaks from authority:

"It may seem only natural now, but ten years ago – when I created what would eventually become FormFire – paper was still very much the only currency in use ... we’ve pushed, clawed and fought our way from tolerance to acceptance to being even the preferred way of working in the markets we serve."

Makes sense: bits beat scraps. But what lessons would Mr Epp have us - and by extension, our Betters in Capital City - draw from his successful private sector experience?

His Top 5 lists key items, from "Too many cooks in the kitchen" to "Lack of infrastructure planning." But don't be put off by the tech-talk: this post is easily accessible to anyone who's ever written an email or clicked a link.

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