By Sam Baker - 09/25/13 09:12 PM EDT
The ObamaCare exchange serving Washington, D.C. is delaying important parts of its operations less than a week before it is scheduled to open for enrollment.
Washington's exchange said Wednesday that it will not be ready on Oct. 1 to calculate the tax subsidies people can receive to help purchase private insurance.
The D.C. exchange also will not immediately be able to determine eligibility for Medicaid.
Some states have pushed back some parts of the process — for example, restricting their exchanges to brokers and navigators — but D.C.'s delays are the most significant setbacks to date.
New insurance marketplaces are set to open Oct. 1, and are supposed to seamlessly take in applications, determine whether consumers are eligible for Medicaid or for tax credits, and then enroll them in a new health plan.
Washington's exchange said it will still begin accepting applications on Oct. 1 and will notify applicants of their eligibility determinations in early November.
Richard Sorian, communications director for the DC exchange, said no one will experience a delay in benefits as a result of the processing delays. Medicaid experts will be made available to help enroll District residents who are eligible for the program so that they can begin receiving benefits, he said.
And the one-month delay in determining eligibility for private insurance will still leave time to sign up for coverage that begins Jan. 1, Sorian said.
Because the enrollment window stays open through March, the exchange said, "a consumer will have ample time to make an informed decision about which health plan to enroll in."