Obamacare Data Flaws Jeopardize Coverage For 1 in 4 Sign-ups

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Discrepancies in federal health care sign-up data for over 2 million people could put their health coverage in jeopardy, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.

A seven-page federal document obtained by the AP reveals that 2.1 million policies — 1 in 4 sign-ups — have data discrepancies in their applications.

1.2 million have income-related discrepancies; 505,000 have immigration data problems; and another 461,00 have citizenship information flaws. Problems with immigration and citizenship could also spark premium subsidy flaws, as only citizens and legal immigrants are eligible for the premium payouts.

“Currently system access and functionality…limits the ability to resolve outstanding inconsistencies,” the document reads. “A phased approach is proposed, initially leveraging manual processes.”

The Obama administration delayed creating a verification program for 2014 last July. The federal government is currently accepting consumer testimonies regarding income at face value and issuing premium subsidies accordingly.

Any inconsistencies — whether fraudulent or unintended by customers — may result in some Obamacare patients being forced to pay back the federal government for higher subsidies than expected.

If a problem is discovered, a consumer’s coverage isn’t affected if the discrepancy is addressed and cleared up within 90 days. About 60 percent of the 2 million flaws are within the 90-day period, but the remaining 800,000 people are already at risk of losing their insurance.

The administration told the AP that they’re triple-checking consumer information to make sure the subsidies are correct and that they hope the discrepancies can be resolved over the summer.

HHS spokeswoman Julie Bataille said that most of the discrepancies appear to be caused by outdated federal information and that the “vast majority” are being resolved in consumers’ favor.

House Republicans requested documents from the Department of Health and Human Services and three federal Obamacare contractors dealing with Obamacare applications and paperwork, blasting the administration for putting taxpayers at risk of overpaying Obamacare customers. The House Ways and Means Committee will hold hearings next week related to the data accuracy issues. (RELATED: Lawmakers Hit WH Over Million-Plus Incorrect Obamacare Subsidies) 

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Sarah Hurtubise