TheHealthSherpa and the HMO Debate

Kudos to a couple of programmers who decided to create a demonstration site of the shopping functions that should have been included in I have a minor quibble with the article since I believe that this demonstrates management failure rather than an architecture failure since the shopping function could have been completed by an independent team. It is the old project management tactic, divide and conqueror.

Three San Francisco programmers in their 20s proved just how inept’s architects were, taking just a few nights to design a simplified version of the glitch-ridden contraption.

Michael Wasser, Ning Liang and George Kalogeropoulos, who share office space with other Bay-area techies, built an alternative website,, that resolves users’ main complaint ”“ easy access to plan descriptions, according to CBS News. And it didn’t take them $600 million to do it.

“They got it completely backwards in terms of what people want up front,” Liang said. “They want prices and benefits, so that they could make the decision.”

Unfortunately as I research the health insurance issue further I am still struggling to find the details on the plans. does not help in this area. This weekend I did some research into copays after some comments by Juan Williams last week and into the decision health insurance customers will have to face between HMO and PPO insurance plans. Copays are unlikely to save me any money but customers who have a lot of doctor’s appointments and drugs might find a benefit depending on their premiums. Depending on your point of view the HMO style of health care was made famous or infamous  in the 1990’s HMO debate.  This sounds like déjà vu all other again. The HMO option is the lowest cost plan for me and the lowest cost PPO plan is more expensive even when I include the subsidy than my current plan. I am tentatively planning on writing a future post that explores the value of the Affordable Care Act plans compared to my current insurance. I will have to remind myself to make sure I am comparing PPO plans or I will be comparing apples to oranges.