California’s Obamacare exchange is struggling to fix yet another computer glitch that is shunting some applicants into Medicaid coverage.
Some customers who don’t quality for the state Medicaid program, Medi-Cal, have been diverted into it anyway, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Covered California, the state Obamacare exchange, acknowledged the problem just days before the Dec. 15 deadline to purchase health coverage for Jan. 1.
“We are aware that this is happening, and we’ve been working to remedy the situation for customers,” Covered California communications director Amy Palmer told the Union-Tribune. She said customers who have been incorrectly enrolled in Medicaid shouldn’t be concerned if their coverage isn’t straightened out by the deadline for 2015 coverage on Monday and that the exchange will make sure their health insurance is effective as planned.
“It’s really a mess,” Craig Gussin, a San Diego insurance broker, told the newspaper. “It’s why I’m going to be spending my whole weekend looking at every person’s file to make sure that it’s as accurate as we can make it.”
Gussin said that several of his own clients were shifted into Medicaid when they tried to modify their income levels on the Obamacare exchange’s website. He said it took hours on the phone with exchange officials to fix the problem.
Another insurance agent, Mike McCaffrey, said the tech glitch had shunted one family’s two youngest children alone into Medicaid. McCaffrey said he reported the problem to Covered California and that he was told to expect a 10-day wait for a correction.
Palmer said that despite some glitches the exchange website is working better than it did during the first open enrollment period, when the website was unequipped to handle enough traffic and faced a series of errors. (RELATED: California Obamacare Exchange Pulls Incorrect Doctor Directory After Patient Outcry)
“We certainly know the system is not perfect, but we think it’s better than it was last year,” Palmer said. “Our enrollment numbers indicate it is working for many thousands of people.”
But customers have reported ongoing problems as well, according to a recent survey from the Public Policy Institute of California. Almost four in ten Californians said that the website isn’t working well or isn’t working at all, suggesting a large chunk of the state is still facing problems. A majority of respondents, however, said the website is working well.