Errors Could Plague 25 Percent of Pre-December Healthcare.gov Enrollments

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 7 2013 2:49 PM

Errors Could Plague 25 Percent of Healthcare.gov Enrollments Before December

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This December 2 photo shows a woman reading the HealthCare.gov insurance marketplace internet site

Photo by KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

Approximately one out of every four people who signed up for health insurance through healthcare.gov in October and November may not have been properly enrolled due to the errors in files that the site is supposed to send to insurers to confirm coverage. Errors in these forms could keep people from getting coverage when 2014 begins. “The problems center around three types of enrollment reporting errors,” notes McClatchy, “the failure to generate an 834 form; issuance of duplicate forms and forms with incorrect data.”

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the agency in charge of the troubled website, gave estimates of errors, saying that they now affect only 10 percent of enrollee files. That certainly marks a substantial improvement but it still means tens of thousands of people could be affected. These latest figures illustrate how the administration is being selective about the data it releases on ObamaCare, making it difficult to know whether the revamped website is meeting the White House goals.

Although it’s common practice for politicians to only outline numbers that helps make their case, “strategists cautioned that the administration’s approach could backfire as the public remains skeptical about the healthcare law,” notes the Hill. In the latest example, CMS only gave estimates about problems on the back end of the website after stonewalling journalists for weeks on the issue.

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Officials insist they’re working on resolving any errors in the forms but say those who are unsure about whether they were able to successfully sign up should get in touch with their insurer and pay the first premium in order to make sure coverage begins Jan. 1, 2014.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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