Small Business Health Insurance Exchange Diagnosis: Buggy

The good news: It ain't Ebola. But a new ObamaCare health insurance website for small businesses -- called the SHOP Exchange -- is suffering from some bugs, according to The New York Times. Government officials say the bugs should be fixed before the site goes live Nov. 15, but chatter about the issues could put some I.T. entrepreneurs and small business owners on edge.

The SHOP (short for Small Business Health Options Program) is designed for companies with 50 or fewer employees. We earlier mentioned that businesses in Delaware, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey and Ohio have been testing the site in recent days.

The early feedback: While promising, the site seems to have problems with certain browsers (Chrome works well; but not as well with Internet Explorer and Firefox) and some health care offerings don't even show up on the system, The Times reported. Some premiums were displayed as percentages rather than dollar amounts (350 percent, not $350), the Times added.

The SHOP Exchange was originally set for launch on Oct. 1, 2013, but the deadline/launch was pushed back because the system couldn't be completed in time. The latest bugs certainly don't inspire confidence. But the feds claim SHOP Exchange will be in good shape for its Nov. 15 launch.

My big question: Why would the site developer only test the system with selected customers for two weeks prior to launch? Wouldn't a far longer beta process -- perhaps a three-month trial with perhaps one state or one county in a state -- have been far smarter?

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