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Now that HealthCare.gov is running smoothly, priority number one for Health and Human Services has to be fixing this:
Tens of thousands of people who discovered that HealthCare.gov made mistakes as they were signing up for a health plan are confronting a new roadblock: The government cannot yet fix the errors.
Roughly 22,000 Americans have filed appeals with the government to try to get mistakes corrected, according to internal government data obtained by The Washington Post. They contend that the computer system for the new federal online marketplace charged them too much for health insurance, steered them into the wrong insurance program or denied them coverage entirely.
For now, the appeals are sitting, untouched, inside a government computer. And an unknown number of consumers who are trying to get help through less formal means—by calling the health-care marketplace directly—are told that HealthCare.gov’s computer system is not yet allowing federal workers to go into enrollment records and change them, according to individuals inside and outside the government who are familiar with the situation.
Right now, there's not even an ETA for when the appeals system will be working. The only option people have in the meantime is to start all over again and create new accounts. That doesn't work for people like Addie Wilson, who is featured in this story. She qualifies for a subsidy, but the broken site didn't give her one. She had to have insurance this month because she had to have gallbladder surgery, so she bought a plan. Going through the whole process again and getting a different plan will not allow her to get the refund she's due for having to pay her full premiums.
It's not just the appeals process that's messed up, either. In some states, children are being left out of coverage when they qualify for Medicaid, but the rest of the family doesn't. Parents can't enroll children who are eligible for Medicaid in private plans, and there's a big backlog from the federal government in informing the states of children who should be on Medicaid. Which means these children are in insurance-less limbo right now. Additionally, there are "loopers," people that the federal site said would be eligible for Medicaid, but who the states have determined aren't eligible. So they've looped back into the federal system, where they can't purchase private insurance because it still has them identified as eligible for Medicaid.
These aren't the horror stories that Republicans are going to push into the news because, face it, most of them involve people eligible for Medicaid and Republicans couldn't care less about those people. But they're the stories that should be lighting a fire under the butts of everyone at HHS, and a few in the White House, too.
Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 08:35 AM PST.