Feds say work remains on health enrollments 

Posted: 10:51 pm Monday, December 2nd, 2013

By Jamie Dupree

While the White House on Monday trumpeted a surge in interest in healthcare.gov and recent software fixes to that health insurance website, federal officials acknowledged that more work is needed on the “back end” of the site, to make sure that consumers actually get health coverage and that insurance companies get the information they need to start those policies.

“We are very mindful of making sure that consumers who want coverage starting in January are able to get it,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, as he said the feds would actively reach out to those who have already signed up, urging them to double check that they do have insurance coverage.

“If consumers are not sure if they are enrolled, they should call our customer call center or the insurer of their choice so that they can be sure they’re covered by January 1,” said Carney.

Carney also rattled off improvements made in the “834” forms which go out from healthcare.gov to insurance companies – documenting who has signed up for what policies – but questions were again raised about errors in those forms.

The Washington Post reported Monday night that “enrollment records for a significant portion” of those who have signed up on healthcare.gov could contain errors, affecting “roughly one-third” of enrollees.

The story came on the heels of a New York Times report that also detailed troubles with information going to health insurance companies, which included stories of people calling up health insurers – only to find out there was no record of them signing up for coverage via healthcare.gov.

The White House though was trying to emphasize the positive, talking about the high number of visitors to the website, and changes that included much more detailed information on the cost of plans and deductibles for those who just want to “window shop” for coverage, as President Obama was ready to start a new PR push on Tuesday.

“WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is trying to move past the woes of its health care website by launching a two-pronged strategy aimed at avoiding enrollment snafus come January while trying to refocus attention on the broader benefits of the law.

President Barack Obama will focus on those benefits Tuesday at a White House event where he’ll be flanked by people the administration says have been helped by the law.  He’ll also take aim at Republicans, arguing that the GOP is trying to strip away those benefits without presenting an alternative.

Behind the scenes, the administration is furiously trying to rectify an issue with enrollment data that could become a significant headache after the first of the year. Insurers say much of the enrollment data they’re receiving is practically useless.”