Politics
A man looks over the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) signup page on the HealthCare.gov website in New York in this October 2, 2013 photo illustration. REUTERS/Mike Segar/Files A man looks over the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) signup page on the HealthCare.gov website in New York in this October 2, 2013 photo illustration. REUTERS/Mike Segar/Files  

White House admits Obamacare sign-ups can be invisibly blocked

Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

Administration officials are telling people who think they have signed up for coverage on HealthCare.Gov to call their insurance companies so they can be sure the transaction was completed.

Software errors have invisibly blocked some completed transactions, denying health benefits to some people who think they’re signed up.

Roughly one-third of the 126,000 claimed sign-ups in October and November have been blocked by diverse errors, according to a Washington Post report.

“We’re telling consumers that if they’re not sure that they’re enrolled, they should call the call center or their insurer directly,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday.

“Consumers should absolutely call their selected plan and confirm that they have paid their first month’s premium, and coverage will available January 1,” Julie Bataille, the spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), said Monday.

“We’re working with insurers to make sure that those who are enrolled know this information,” Carney said.

The problem has been caused by the managers of the Obamcare website, who failed to create a proper connection between the website visitors’ enrollment applications, and the databases at the insurance companies.

The problem is dubbed the “834” problem, because that’s the term given to the documents which bridge the normal gap between customers and companies. Officials claimed Dec.2 that they’ve recently fixed 80 percent of the 834 problems.

Administration officials say that roughly 126,000 people who don’t get insurance via their companies have used the website to select a commercial Obamacare-compliant health plan, in October and November.

Officials decline to say how many of those 126,000 people tried to actually enroll in the plan they selected, and they have declined to say how many people have successfully used the 834 document to make sure the health-benefit company gets their enrollment applications.

Anecdotal evidence says many visitors have stopped the enrollment process when they’ve seen the Obamacare prices. In general, people earning over $35,000 a year are charged extra for plans so that their extra funds can subsidize payments by lower-skilled people or older people.

Some applicants have come forward to say their enrollment applications have fallen into a computerized limbo between the website and the health-payments companies.