One in four enrollees may not be properly signed up

McClatchy Washington BureauDecember 6, 2013 


Angel Diaz, right, discusses which forms to fill out to enroll in healthcare coverage with Jessie Orozco at St. John's Well Child & Family Center in South Los Angeles

ANNE CUSACK — Los Angeles Times/MCT

— An estimated one in four people who signed up for health insurance through the troubled website in October and November may not be properly enrolled in coverage due to technical problems with the electronic enrollment reports that the federal marketplace sends daily to each health plan.

Errors in these so-called "834" forms have been a vexing problem for the marketplace as it tries to correct a slew of malfunctions and glitches which have slowed enrollment and created a political firestorm for President Obama.

Last week, government officials announced they had fixed a software problem that was causing 80 percent of the errors with the 834 forms. And on Friday, Julie Bataille, communications director for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services(CMS), said officials believe nine out of ten 834s generated since December 1 are error-free.

But those fixes were too late for tens of thousands of people whose faulty enrollment information might keep them from gaining coverage on January 1, 2014.

The problems center around three types of enrollment reporting errors; the failure to generate an 834 form; issuance of duplicate forms and forms with incorrect data.

The data inaccuracies could include misinformation about family relationships, incorrect subsidy amounts and misspelled names, Bataille said.

A team of marketplace contractors, CMS officials and insurers are working to reconcile all errors in the forms.

Bataille urged people who are unsure about their enrollment status to verify their policies by contacting their insurer and paying their first month's premium. People must enroll in a plan by Dec. 23 in order to have coverage that begins on Jan. 1, 2014.

"Our clear priority is fixing any remaining bugs that (are) causing problems and working to make sure that every 834 form past and present, is accurate," Bataille said Friday in a telephone press briefing.

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