Minnesota insurers still don’t know who’s enrolled in the state’s Obamacare exchange — and just weeks away from Jan. 1, they’re afraid customers may not be covered in time.
Julie Brunner, executive director of the trade group Minnesota Council of Health Plans, wrote to MNsure executive director April Todd-Malmlov Friday alerting her to insurers’ ongoing problems with enrollment records. She warned that if the correct data isn’t found soon, customers could experience coverage delays.
“At this late date, the health plan companies do not have most of the names or information on individuals who have enrolled through MNsure,” Brunner wrote.
Minnesota Council of Health Plans, which represents prominent Minnesota insurers Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, HealthPartners, UCare, Medica and Preferred One, fears that if enrollment records aren’t fixed soon, those who have selected a plan via MNsure might not “actually be covered” on Jan. 1.
The data delay could hit consumers hard by giving them just days to submit premium payments to insurance companies, the final step for Americans to be fully enrolled in exchange coverage.
Original 834 enrollment files, which have been plagued with errors in the federal marketplace as well, have been sent to insurers incomplete and incorrect. While MNsure has sent supplemental data files in a first attempt to alleviate the problems, there are now further inconsistencies between the two sets of enrollee information: the number of people covered, duplicate enrollments and glitches such as dependents claimed on plans for children only.
“While MNsure works to correct the supplemental files, other issues have been left to the health plan companies to resolve,” Brunner said. Companies are attempting to fix the records manually but fear they won’t be able to do it all.
Missing and incorrect information on addresses, names and identification numbers for customers and dependents is leaving insurers without a way to even contact MNsure consumers.
Insurers are left to rely upon MNsure for a quick solution to the enrollment problems. “We believe that MNsure is in the best position to communicate with enrollees,” Brunner wrote, because companies lack correct data for “most” MNsure customers.
MNsure officials have been faced with a barrage of problems with enrollment, admitting during a Wednesday board meeting that the exchange was encountering difficulties processing paper applications. after having to recalculate subsidy eligibility for 30,000 potential customers in November.
MNsure released a statement saying that it has “launched a focused effort with the carriers to address these issues quickly.”
But with the Dec. 23 enrollment deadline just several weeks away, Minnesota insurers are beginning to worry about getting the information in time — and that could leave those that “believe” they have purchased a plan without coverage in January.
What insurance companies need at this point, Brunner writes, is a “contingency plan … so that MNsure and health plan companies do not find themselves in the situation of not being able to guarantee that people who believe they have purchased coverage will actually be covered Jan. 1.”
Minnesota enrollment woes demonstrate a problem that is quickly coming to a head: though exchange websites haven’t worked for many Americans, even those that did make it through the process of selecting a health-care plan aren’t yet finished.
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