January 10 2014
No-Care: ObamaCare Orphans
Patrice J. Lee
The Administration is pretending that the slow pace of enrollments in ObamaCare since they managed to patch up the healthcare.gov website is a huge success, but health insurance companies, say not so fast. The technology and enrollment process are still causing headaches. As we know, the website has transmitted missing and incomplete information to health insurers putting the health care of many in jeopardy.
Now, we’re learning from the health industry that they have no record of enrollment for some 13,000 people. These people remain uncovered despite the website’s claiming they successfully submitted their application. This problem is predicted to grow with the new waves of enrollment in advance of the March 31st deadline.
This is more than just an erroneous file or a bug. It’s an entirely missing step that the Administration neglected to build out.
Insurance companies are still trying to sort out cases of so-called health insurance orphans, customers for whom the government has a record that they enrolled, but the insurer does not.
Government officials say the problem is real but under control, with orphan records being among the roughly 13,000 problem cases they are trying to resolve with insurers. But insurance companies are worried the process will grow more cumbersome as they deal with the flood of new customers who signed up in December as enrollment deadlines neared.
More than 1 million people have signed up through the federal insurance market that serves 36 states. Officials contend the error rate for new signups is close to zero.
Insurers, however, are less enthusiastic about the pace of the fixes. The companies also are seeing cases in which the government has assigned the same identification number to more than one person, as well as so-called "ghost" files in which the insurer has an enrollment record but the government does not.
But orphaned files _ when the insurer has no record of enrollment _ are particularly concerning because the companies have no automated way to identify the presumed policyholder. They say they have to manually compare the lists of enrollees the government sends them with their own records because the government never built an automated system that would do the work much faster.
… insurers worry that the back-end problems will grow more acute as they process the wave of customers who signed up at the end of 2013.
Manually checking lists that the government sends? Is that what the Administration calls efficient?
According to insures it takes days for a customer’s file to reach them and they. I can’t imagine being the analyst at the insurance company processing spreadsheets of enrollments with a ruler and pencil.
While I place more faith in the health insurers than I do federal bureaucrats, forcing them to manually process information injects a new possibility of error into the system.
Once again we have a demonstration of the significant oversights and ensuing problems generated by the Administration’s haste to get ObamaCare up and running. They allowed people to sign up without first guaranteeing that the technology worked on the back end. In this case, there appears to be no back end at all. Central planning strikes again!
Let’s not forget that those 13,000 applications are real Americans who signed up for ObamaCare thinking they were covered and find themselves exposed as they were before.
Let’s also not forget that we’re less than two weeks into the year of ObamaCare: how many more Americans will join the ranks of the ObamaCare orphans between now and March?