White House blames consumers for Obamacare enrollment errors

We’ve written several times about the problems involving Obamacare enrollment records. Because of these problems, consumers may find that, although they completed the enrollment process as it appears on the Obamacare website, they don’t actually have health insurance.

Today, the Washington Post quantifies the enrollment records problem. It finds that “errors cumulatively have affected roughly one-third of the people who have signed up for health plans since Oct. 1.”

The errors are material. They include “failure to notify insurers about new customers, duplicate enrollments or cancellation notices for the same person, incorrect information about family members, and mistakes involving federal subsidies.”

According to the Post:

The errors, if not corrected, mean that tens of thousands of consumers are at risk of not having coverage when the insurance goes into effect Jan. 1, because the health plans they picked do not yet have accurate information needed to send them a bill. Under the 2010 law designed to reshape the health-care system, consumers are not considered to have coverage unless they have paid at least the first monthly insurance premium.

Who is to blame for this looming disaster? I would have fingered the Obama administration. After all, HHS’s own lead tech guy testified that the “back room” of the Obamacare website — the place where, for example, notification of enrollment is sent to insurers — is less than 50 percent operational. And its own spokesperson attributes the majority of errors to a computer “bug” that prevented a Social Security number from being included.

But the White House wants to spread the blame to those who use its consumer-hostile website:

Some of the errors in the past forms were generated by the way people were using the system, another senior official on the project said, such as clicking twice on the confirmation button or moving backward and forward on the site.

How naive to suppose that one could move backward and forward on a government website without painful consequence.

Eventually, the government will probably sort out most of the enrollment problems. But probably not before many thousands of consumers receive news that they do not have the insurance coverage they fought their way through the Obamacare website to purchase. And not before the reputation of Obamacare, and of the federal government in general, takes another big hit.

Even so, as we have frequently pointed out, the more enduring hit will occur because people are forced into coverage plans more expensive and less desirable (cost aside) than what they previously had.

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