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WH: ‘Double Check Your Sign-Up For O-Care’

From the UK’s Guardian:

Obamacare customers urged to double-check insurance status

By Dan Roberts and Jana Kasperkevic | 2 December 2013

The White House is urging insurance customers who enrolled through its online healthcare exchange to check whether they will actually receive coverage amid continuing uncertainty over the effectiveness of the system connecting the website to insurers.

Will they waive the Obama-Care fine for people who were misled? (Just kidding.)

Although officials declared on Sunday that the consumer-facing front end of the federal website was now working effectively for the majority of customers, there have been separate concerns over the back end, which processes applications and passes on financial information to insurers selling the policies.

And never mind that the back end is the most important part. In fact, the only important part. Since that is where people actually get enrolled in an insurance plan. Which is the whole reason for the exchanges in the first place.

Speaking on Monday, White House spokesman Jay Carney insisted that many of the underlying causes of the problem had been addressed by weekend software upgrades, but he revealed that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the agency behind the troubled website, had been forced to contact existing users to make sure they did not fall between the cracks.

“CMS is reaching out directly to consumers who have already selected a plan, to let them know to be in touch with their insurer to pay their first premium to ensure that coverage kicks in,” he said.

How do they know whom to contact? Or are they just going to contact everyone?

Asked directly by reporters if the White House could assure customers who have signed up that they will definitely have coverage by January 1, Carney appeared to suggest it was up to individuals to double-check for themselves.

“What I would say is that CMS is reaching out to those who have enrolled to make sure they know the steps they need to take to ensure coverage kicks in,” he replied.

“If consumers are not sure if they are enrolled they should call our customer call centre or the insurer of their choice to make sure they are covered by January 1st.”

The issues with the back end of the website have been known for some time, but White House troubleshooter Jeffrey Zients admitted on Sunday that technicians had prioritised fixes to the consumer-facing part of the site in the initial weeks after launch…

And never mind that the whole purpose of the exchanges was supposed to be to get people onto insurance plans.

Some insurers are receiving phone calls from people who believe they are enrolled, but have no record of them. Other insurers are receiving applications, sometimes incomplete, but no payment information.

In one recent case, insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield in North Carolina received more than 500 applications in October but no payment information, which resulted in no actual enrollments.

A report obtained by local North Carolina TV-station WNCN shows how Blue Cross Blue Shield is concerned that those attempting to enroll have not been making payments when redirected – because of a broken hyperlink.

Of the 570 applicants, only 100 have been successfully redirected to the payment options, but none have actually completed the payment process, according to the report…

So the final score for BCBS in North Carolina: 570 applications and 0 payments. What a success story!

Some of those involved in earlier healthcare websites say it could cripple Obamacare if it is not ironed out quickly…

It will certainly cripple the insurance companies. Which is the ultimate plan.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

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