The Conversation

Insurers: Obamacare Enrollment Data Filled with Errors

Yesterday, the Obama administration claimed that it had reduced the data errors being sent to health insurance companies. Originally, approximately 15,000 enrollment forms were not transmitted correctly to the companies but now the Administration claims the erroneous transmissions have been greatly diminished. The insurance companies disagree.

For each enrollee, the government is supposed to send the insurance company a from known as an 834. "In some cases, consumers selected a health plan at the federal website, HealthCare.gov, but the government did not notify the insurance company. In other cases, insurers received duplicate files for the same person, files for one person were sent to an insurer in another state, or the 'relationship code' was wrong so that, for example, a man’s daughter was listed as his wife."

But the White House insists it is sending nearly all the information for new enrollees.  It just doesn't seem to be accurate information. 

In some instances, they said, the federal government reported that the home address for a new policyholder was outside an insurer’s service area. In other cases, a child was listed as the main subscriber — the person responsible for paying premiums — and parents were listed as dependents.

In some cases, children were enrolled in a policy by the federal government and parents were left off, or vice versa. In other cases, the government mixed up the members of a family: A child or spouse was listed two or three times in the same application in late November. Such errors can have financial implications, increasing the amount of premiums that a family is required to pay.

The December 23 deadline is quickly approaching for the people who are mandated to get coverage by January 1. And the New York Times describes, "the government’s overriding message to insurers is: Do whatever you have to do to maximize enrollment and to provide coverage by Jan. 1 to anyone who wants it. Federal health officials have told insurers that they can sort out the details and work out financial arrangements with the government later."


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