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D.C. Health Care Exchange Missing Medicaid Feature

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WASHINGTON — The District of Columbia’s new health care exchange will debut Tuesday, but will be missing a key feature.

The online marketplaces are a key part of President Obama’s health care law. The District and 16 states are running their own exchanges, while other states are partnering with the federal government or leaving it to the feds entirely.

District officials said Wednesday that the new site, called D.C. Health Link, will not be able to automatically determine whether applicants are eligible for Medicaid or for government subsidies to help pay for insurance.

Officials said the website was producing a high error rate when it tried to make those determinations itself.

Instead, people can use the website to submit an online application for subsidies or Medicaid eligibility that will be evaluated offline by staff. Applicants will be notified in November if they are eligible for subsidies.

Consumers and small businesses will still be able to use the site to shop among competing plans for coverage.

The District’s site is not the only one experiencing glitches as the Oct. 1 start date for the exchanges approaches. The federal government has said its Spanish-language version of the healthcare.gov website will not be ready to handle online enrollments for a few weeks.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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