Covered California, one of the crown jewels of the Obamacare state exchange system, could leave up to 25,000 people who have applied for coverage without beginning on January 1. Paper applications must be processed by December 23 in order for applicants to receive coverage by the new year; instead, there is a backlog of 25,000 such applications. According to Roy Kennedy, spokesman for Covered California, “We’ve added additional staff and redirected existing staff to input all the paper applications, so we believe that everyone who properly filled out the application, they will have health insurance on Jan. 1.”
But experts say that those paper applications are largely incomplete. The California Association of Health Underwriters only found out about the backlog over the last week. Neil Crosby of the CAHU said, “My guess is a lot of the people who submitted their applications, if not the majority of them, thought that they were enrolled. They’re probably booking appointments to get care. And with a backlog of 25,000 applications, I’m not sure, even if there were thousands of people inputting information, if it could all be done in time to get these people coverage for the Jan. 1 date.”
California leads the nation in Obamacare enrollees. Its exchange shortcomings are unrelated to those of the federal Obamacare website failures.