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Feds Don’t Want Paper Obama-Care Applications

From the Associated Press:

Feds balk at paper health application

By KELLI KENNEDY | December 7, 2013

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Federal health officials, after encouraging alternate sign-up methods amid the fumbled rollout of their online insurance website, began quietly urging counselors around the country this week to stop using paper applications to enroll people in health insurance because of concerns those applications would not be processed in time.

Interviews with enrollment counselors, insurance brokers and a government official who works with navigators in Illinois reveal the latest change in direction by the Obama administration, which had been encouraging paper applications and other means because of all the problems with the federal website…

That is, they can’t verify income for subsidies, either. Which has to be done via the online data hub which is usually not working. Which is the same problem the online exchanges are having. (There is more on this hear the bottom of the article.)

By the way, notice how we are never told the number of people who have actually enrolled, versus the number of people who hope to get a subsidy. We suspect that the vast majority of people who are signing up for Obama-Care are people who are hoping to get a subsidy.

Which is not the way it was supposed to work. If Obama-Care is ever going to be fiscally sustainable. (Which it will never be.)

"We received guidance from the feds recommending that folks apply online as opposed to paper," said Mike Claffey, spokesman for the Illinois Department of Insurance.

After a conference call earlier this week with federal health officials, Illinois health officials sent a memo Thursday to their roughly 1,600 navigators saying there is no way to complete marketplace enrollment through a paper application. The memo, which Claffey said was based on guidance from federal officials, said paper applications should be used only if other means aren’t available.

Federal health officials also discussed the issue during a conference call Wednesday with navigators and certified counselors in several states.

"They’ve said do not use paper applications because they won’t be able to process them anywhere near in time," said John Foley, attorney and certified counselor for Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, who was on the call.

That contradicts what federal health officials told reporters during a national media call this week, during which they said there were no problems with paper applications. "There is still time to do paper applications," Julie Bataille, communications director for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told reporters on the call Wednesday…

Some one in the Obama administration lied about Obama-Care? Stop the presses!

In early November, President Barack Obama himself encouraged paper applications as one of several alternatives to the federal website. "I just want to remind everybody that they can still apply for coverage by phone, by mail, in person," Obama said on Nov. 4 in remarks to Affordable Care Act supporters at a Washington hotel…

In other words, ‘if you like your paper application for Obama-Care, you can keep your paper application for Obama-Care.’

Paper applications seemed like a safe bet in early October as agents and navigators struggled with online applications. Once federal health officials receive a paper application, they check with other federal agencies to determine whether an applicant is eligible for a subsidy to help pay for a portion of their health coverage. But the process, which includes verifying incomes and immigration status, is taking longer than expected…

As we noted above, paper applications face the same problems that online applications do. There is no way to verify incomes for subsidies. And the only people who are apply for Obama-Care are people who think they are getting subsidies.

Kelly Fristoe, an insurance agent in Wichita Falls, Texas, has submitted 25 paper applications since early October and hasn’t received a response from federal health officials yet. "At this time, we are not using any paper applications," he said.

That also contradicts what CMS told reporters this week. Bataille, the spokeswoman for the federal agency, said all paper applications received during October have been processed…

Again, what a shock, huh?

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Monday, December 9th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Feds Don’t Want Paper Obama-Care Applications”

    • captstubby

      i got old income tax records on floppy disk.

      but my drive crapped out .

      so now only the government can read them.




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