Politics: PennAve

CMS won't reveal error rate for sharing data with insurers

BY: Brian Hughes December 2, 2013 | 12:00 am

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Monday declined to detail the error rates for the back-end process that provides insurers with information about enrollees in Obamacare's new insurance exchanges.

The White House is trumpeting fixes to the healthcare.gov website, saying it met a self-imposed Nov. 30 deadline to deliver a smooth user experience to the “vast majority” of consumers.

Insurers, however, say the federal website is nowhere near fixed, citing back-end issues with the online marketplaces. Insurance companies say they have been unable to receive data on many users who have successfully enrolled in Obamacare exchanges, preventing them from registering those consumers for the correct insurance plans.

Insurers are supposed to receive 834 EDI Transmission Forms, which tell them which individuals have enrolled in health care plans. Without such information, insurers have no way of knowing who has signed up for Obamacare exchanges or what coverage to offer them.

Even though a CMS spokeswoman insisted Monday that a bug causing 80 percent of problems with the 834 Forms had been fixed, she could not quantify the error rate for transmitting data from the healthcare.gov website to insurers.

When pressed on how the administration knew the origin of 80 percent of the problems — without disclosing the actual error rate — CMS spokeswoman Julie Bataille said, “that’s the information I’ve got today.”

Bataille said that a now-eliminated software bug restricted insurers from processing Social Security numbers of those seeking to enroll in health exchanges.

The agency responsible for overseeing the glitch-ridden healthcare.gov website also would not confirm a new report from Bloomberg, which said 100,000 people had signed up for Obamacare exchanges online in the month of November.

If true, such a figure would represent a four-fold increase from October but still fall short of the pace needed to meet the administration’s goal of signing up 7 million Americans by the end of March.

“We are in the process,” Bataille said, “of scrubbing the final enrollment numbers for November.”

She said the final enrollment figures for last month would be released in mid-December.

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Brian Hughes

White House Correspondent



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