Tags: obamacare | glitch | faulty | data

Obamacare Glitches Give Insurers Big Error-Hunting Headaches

Friday, 18 Oct 2013 09:21 PM

By Cathy Burke

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The glitchy government healthcare marketplace is generating faulty data for some insurance companies, forcing them to backtrack to verify information from Obamacare enrollees.

"We talked to one gentleman who had not received confirmation [of his enrollment] ... hit 'submit' a couple of times and was concerned he had enrolled in multiple plans," Joan Budden, chief marketing officer for Michigan's Priority Health, told CNN Friday.

"We're calling each member and going over their information to make sure it's accurate."



Duplicate enrollments are not the only errors being discovered as the Affordable Care Act's rocky rollout continues, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Other unreliable data generated by the new marketplace include spouses reported as children, missing data fields and suspect eligibility determinations, executives at more than a dozen health plans told the newspaper.

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Nebraska said it had to hire temporary workers to contact new customers directly to resolve inaccuracies in submissions — and Medical Mutual of Ohio said one customer had successfully signed up for three of its plans, the Journal reported.

Luke Chung, president of FMS Inc., told CNN part of the problem is the complexity of the sign-up — including "too many screens" prospective enrollees must click through to finally sign up.

"It should be on one screen — why bother having three screens" for just one set of information, he complained to CNN, adding that the goal of online enrollment should be "get people through thissystem as quickly as possible."

"The longer this takes to resolve ... the harder it will be to get people to [come back and] sign up," Aetna chief executive Mark Bertolini told The Journal.

"It's not off to a great start," he said, though he believes the marketplaces are "here to stay."

A number of Republicans have urged Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, to resign.

Still, HHS, which is running all or part of the marketplaces in 36 states, has repeatedly declined to answer specific questions about its handling of the rollout, including specific glitches, enrollment figures, or its plans to fix the problems.

"We know that people are enrolling in coverage and the system works. As individual problems are raised by insurers, we work aggressively to address them," HHS spokeswoman Joanne Peters told the Journal Thursday.

Of 209,000 users who began to register on healthcare.gov on Monday or Tuesday of this week, just over one-quarter finished the process, according to an estimate made by the analytics firm comScore for the Journal.

In the first week, only 10 percent did so.

On Thursday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will host Congress's first hearing on the rollout since the exchanges debuted.

The panel has asked Sebelius to testify, but so far, she has declined, The Hill reported Friday.

Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) issued a statement Friday calling her scheduled non-appearance "wholly unacceptable."

"Secretary Sebelius had time for ["The Daily Show" host] Jon Stewart, and we expect her to have time for Congress," he said, referring to her disastrous appearance on the comedy show touting the system's user-friendliness.

Related story:

Mounting Obamacare Errors Paralyze Plans




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