They better get more tissues from Costco to be ready for the butt-kicking their entire scheme is going to get in November.
The head of the state’s beleaguered health insurance marketplace, which was once a national model, broke down in tears Thursday, as she described how demoralizing it has been for her staff to struggle with a broken website that has left an unknown number of people without coverage.
Jean Yang, the executive director of the Massachusetts Health Connector, wept at a board meeting, where it was disclosed that 50,000 applications for health insurance are sitting in a pile, and have yet to be entered into a computer system.
Each one of those applications requires two hours to process, adding to a mountain of work facing Connector staff as they scramble to prevent people from losing insurance, officials said.
“These people came here to lead and innovate, and instead they’re doing manual workarounds, and they are embarrassed to tell friends and family that they work for the Health Connector,” Yang said at the board meeting.
Yang made clear she was not looking for sympathy.
“We have to work harder,” she said. “That means I need tell the staff members they’re not doing a good enough job and I’m telling them that, even though they have been doing this tirelessly for months, and they’re exhausted.”
The state’s health insurance website was working smoothly until October, when it was revamped to comply with the more complicated requirements of the federal health care law. Since then, it has been bedeviled by error messages and is often very sluggish or crashes entirely, officials said. That prompted the state to resort to old-fashioned paper applications, and to put many people in to temporary health plans. But an unknown number of others may be ununinsured because of the paperwork backlog.