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Enrollment Errors Put Medical Coverage At Risk

Mon, 12/09/2013 - 8:54am
Robert Pear

The Obama administration said Friday that the enrollment records for roughly a quarter of all the people who signed up for health insurance on its website in October and November could contain errors, raising questions about whether those consumers would get coverage in time to pay for their medical care next month.

The disclosure added yet another complication to a long list of technical troubles that have hampered the rollout of President Obama’s health care law. A federal website, HealthCare.gov, is the main marketplace that consumers can use to compare policies and sign up for plans.

Julie Bataille, a spokeswoman at the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said the agency was working with insurers to correct the errors and resolve discrepancies in records kept by the government and by insurers.

In some cases, the government did not notify insurers of people who enrolled online at HealthCare.gov. The government refers to these people as orphans because they completed the application process and selected health plans, but the information did not make its way to insurers.

An administration official said the government would do everything possible to “rescue the orphans.”

In other cases, Ms. Bataille said, the government sent more than one enrollment notice for the same person to an insurer. And in still others, she said, the information sent was incorrect. For example, a child may have been listed as a parent, a name may have been misspelled, or an address may have been wrong.

Some people who signed up for a health plan are listed in insurance company records but not in the government’s records, officials said. In those cases, consumers may have chosen a health plan and then canceled the enrollment, but the government failed to inform the insurer of the cancellation.

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