While President Obama ramps up his administration's latest campaign to convince Americans the glitch-ridden online federal insurance marketplace is vastly improved, the HealthCare.gov website is reportedly still plagued by errors that could mean consumers who have enrolled will not have coverage next month.
While on the surface the website appears to be working better than it did for the first two months after its troubled roll out, many problems remain within the back-end of the system. Insurance providers continue to receive incorrect information and in many case not enough information to provide clients coverage due to Obamacare website glitches.
All together, various back-end errors have affected about one-third of Americans who have signed up for health plans since Oct. 1, according to government and health-care industry officials.
The White House disputes the numbers but has not offered its own specific data.
Devising a plan to define and clear up the huge backlog of errors is the topic of a meeting scheduled for Tuesday between administration officials and a new “Payer Exchange Performance Team” made up of insurance industry leaders.
Early Monday the website herded its users into a bottleneck and later in the morning as roughly 35,000 people sought pricing and information, consumers encountered a “queue,” a new feature intended to limit users at times when the site was too crowded.
The administration has declared the website capable of handling 50,000 people at one time. However the “queue” feature blocks some people from enrolling and notifies others by e-mail when it’s a better time to log in, which in many cases Monday was 5 p.m., while many are commuting from work.
Still, the bigger problems are in the back-end of the system that organizes and transmits information crucial to insurers. While industry officials acknowledged problems concerning coverage for a significant number of people, the White House continues to downplay the significance of website performance issues.
The idea that one-third of the enrollment records are flawed “doesn’t accurately reflect the picture of what’s happening right now,” White House senior communications adviser Tara McGuinness said.
“We’ve got a team of experts already working closely with issuers to make sure that every past and future 834 is accurate. We’re confident they’ll succeed,” McGuinness said. The 834s are nightly enrollment forms sent to insurers to tell them who their new customers are.
However, insurers have been announcing major problems with enrollment records for weeks, both publicly and in private conversations with administration officials. Figures provided to The Washington Post suggest that “a variety of errors affecting at least one-third of all enrollments so far are the first public indication of the magnitude of the problem.”
Other problems associated with Obamacare include lingering questions about HCA website security and millions of policy cancellations associated with the law which was passed by Democrats in 2010 without a single Republican vote.
President Obama repeatedly promised that Americans would be able to keep their policies and their doctors, "period."
According to the Washington Post, an internal report Monday showed that under 149,000 individuals had completed the enrollment process through the new online system.