Health insurance plans for thousands of Americans who have signed up for Obamacare through the online federal exchanges contain errors, meaning those consumers may not get the coverage they signed up for come January 2014.
The computer-generated errors affect roughly one-third of consumers who have signed up for the Affordable Care Act since the exchanges launched Oct. 1, The Washington Post reported.
Errors included in the health insurance plans include “failure to notify insurers about new customers, duplicate enrollments or cancellation notices for the same person, incorrect information about family members, and mistakes involving federal subsidies,” the Post reported.
Errors in past forms were caused by things as simple as users clicking back and forth on the healthcare.gov website, one senior official said.
The implications are pretty clear: Unless the faulty plans are corrected, “tens of thousands” of Americans may not have coverage on Jan. 1 because their plans contain too many errors to be billed. Recall that under the Affordable Care Act, consumers are not considered “covered” until they have at least the first month of insurance premiums paid. No bill means no payment, which means “not covered” under the law.
White House senior communications adviser Tara McGuinness disputed the one-third figure, saying it “doesn’t accurately reflect the picture of what’s happening right now.”
Despite disputing the one-third figure, the White House declined to provide the Post with official figures.
Officials familiar with the situation say the errors keep piling up even as the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services scramble to correct the error-riddled, multimillion dollar healthcare.gov site. This means that on top of trying to fix the faulty website, the Obama administration is also wrestling with a mountain of flawed health insurance plans as new ones crop up.
To this end, the White House has put together a new “Payer Exchange Performance Team” comprised up of leaders in the insurance industry.
“We’ve got a team of experts already working closely with issuers to make sure that every past and future 834 [forms sent nightly to inform insurers of new signups] is accurate. We’re confident they’ll succeed,” McGuinness said.
If it’s any consolation, the Obamacare website team has reduced the instances of faulty 834 forms from 3 percent last week to 0.5 percent now, senior officials told the Post.
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