A problem with Washington state’s Obamacare exchange cancelled 6,000 accounts’ insurance plans and payments, the exchange admitted Tuesday night.
The state-run exchange is facing more technical struggles than many Obamacare exchanges during the second open enrollment period. The exchange went offline just hours after the open enrollment period began on Nov. 15. Officials said the website was incorrectly calculating the amount of premium subsidies and shut down the site for about a day while they fixed the problem. (RELATED: Washington’s Obamacare Exchange Is Already Shut Down)
Now, some 6,000 customers will have to sign up for coverage all over again.
“Early analysis indicates that our system integrator, Deloitte, ran an automated enrollment cancellation process in error,” said Richard Onizuka, the Washington Health Benefit Exchange CEO, in a statement. “The affected accounts, which are a portion of the total number of customers who are enrolled in coverage starting on Jan. 1, 2015, experienced an erroneous cancellation of both their enrollment and payment for 2015 coverage.”
Washington customers who had their coverage canceled will have to make their way through the process again by Dec. 23 in order to make sure they get their insurance by Jan. 1 as planned. The exchange said the first payments will not be deducted from customers’ accounts.
“It will take a few days to contact everyone,” said Bethany Frey, spokeswoman for the exchange. “Every individual will be contacted by a customer support rep, exchange staff member, broker or navigator…they will also receive a letter, which is going out tomorrow, or an e-mail, depending on their preference.”
Washington’s Obamacare exchange survived through the second year of open enrollment, unlike several others, but it struggled with payment problems last year as well.
During last year’s open enrollment period, several customers reported having their monthly premium payments wrongly deducted from their bank accounts twice. The exchange continued to struggle with payment problems through 2014.
“We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused to our customers and do not take this issue lightly,” Onizuka said. “We will reconfirm health care coverage for all of those who are impacted.”