WaPo: One-third of all Healthcare.gov 834s failed

posted at 8:01 am on December 3, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

The White House touted the success of its “fix” yesterday by focusing on the improved customer experience, which turned out to be not all that much improved after all.  The biggest change was that the site now had a formal waiting line, which foreshadows what will happen when ObamaCare floods a limited number of providers with a lot more demand in a price-controlled economic environment.  The administration got very vague when it came to whether the back-end functions had been fixed, and as the Washington Post reports this morning, that was where the fix was needed most.  A third of all enrollments in October and November got lost, thanks to the system failures on a long-established standard:

The enrollment records for a significant portion of the Americans who have chosen health plans through the online federal insurance marketplace contain errors — generated by the computer system — that mean they might not get the coverage they’re expecting next month.

The errors cumulatively have affected roughly one-third of the people who have signed up for health plans since Oct. 1, according to two government and health-care industry officials. The White House disputed the figure but declined to provide its own.

The mistakes 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. The errors have been accumulating since HealthCare.gov opened two months ago, even as the Obama administration has been working to make it easier for consumers to sign up for coverage, the government and industry officials said.

The 834 issue is crucial to proper enrollment.  What did the White House have to say about it yesterday? Not much:

We don’t know how many inaccurate 834 transmissions went out. Three reporters — one from the Los Angeles Times, one from The Wall Street Journal and I — asked Bataille for information on how many of the 834s sent out so far have had an error. This is a question that I’ve asked on three previous calls, a point made by the Los Angeles Times’s Noam Levey as he asked for his second time.

This is where Monday’s media call started to get more tense than the dozens that have happened in the past, with reporter after reporter asking about the numbers of 834 errors and not getting a response from the administration. As The Wall Street Journal reporter reasoned, if the administration knows that 80 percent of the errors are coming from a certain bug — then simple math should figure out the total number.

Bataille did not provide an answer, beyond the metric of the Social Security bug causing the majority of the errors. “That’s the information I’ve got today,” she told The Wall Street Journal’s Louise Radnofsky, when she was the third reporter to ask about the issue.

If you’ve enrolled through Healthcare.gov, how do you know you’ve actually enrolled? You have to contact the insurer to verify that you have coverage.  This is a vast improvement over the pre-ObamaCare days, of course, when you just bought your insurance directly from the insurance company or a broker who had to transmit data properly in order to stay in business.  Thank goodness that competitive quality has been sucked out of the system, so that incompetents can stay on the job!

Speaking of which, remember all of those worries that the fix wouldn’t impact the atrocious data security of Healthcare.gov? Not to worry – they may have made it worse:

The eight-page report made no mention of the website’s numerous security flaws, which experts say put Americans’ personal information at risk.

“It doesn’t appear that any security fixes were done at all,” David Kennedy, CEO of the online security firm TrustedSec, told the Washington Free Beacon.

Kennedy said fundamental safeguards missing from Healthcare.gov that were identified by his company more than a month ago have yet to be put in place.

“There are a number of security concerns already with the website, and that’s without even actually hacking the site, that’s just a purely passive analysis of [it],” he said. “We found a number of critical exposures that were around sensitive information, the ability to hack into the site, things like that. We reported those issues and none of those appear to have been addressed at all.”

After warning Americans when testifying before Congress on Nov. 19 to stay away from Healthcare.gov, Kennedy now says the situation is even worse.

“They said they implemented over 400 bug fixes,” he said. “When you recode the application to fix these 400 bugs—they were rushing this out of the door to get the site at least so it can work a little bit—you’re introducing more security flaws as you go along with it because you don’t even check that code.”

“I’m a little bit more skeptical now, and I would still definitely advise individuals to not use the website because it’s definitely something that I don’t believe is secure and neither did the four individuals that testified in front of Congress,” Kennedy said. “I think there’s some major security concerns there around privacy and information, and they haven’t even come close to being addressed, and won’t be in the short term.”

But hey, the website has a “dramatically improved” user experience, which means you can now wait in a queue while your private information is exposed to identity thieves in a system that won’t actually enroll some of you for insurance at all. This, apparently, is “private-sector velocity and efficiency,” as seen by the administration that has almost no private-sector experience at all.

It shows.


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One-third of all Healthcare.gov 834s failed

Well there you go. That means that over 99% of the 834′s passed! /s

Caper29 on December 3, 2013 at 8:04 AM

I said it before … you START with security, and build the site around THAT….you can not do it the other way around

watertown on December 3, 2013 at 8:07 AM

No worries…..let’s campaign on the positive benefits if obamacare

Obama on another PR blitz to praise this boondoggle

cmsinaz on December 3, 2013 at 8:10 AM

During the CMS call, Bataille would not disclose the error rates on the 834 transactions, despite several attempts from several different reporters.

On an Oct. 24 conference call, Bataille claimed that the errors were “isolated”

“Isolated” means outside of the DC beltway.

kcewa on December 3, 2013 at 8:11 AM

I blame Bush. No wait, it was a Youtube video. Look, November 30th wasn’t some kind of red line or anything.

Oh, what difference does it make?

trubble on December 3, 2013 at 8:12 AM

White House returns to Obamacare sales mode

The focus on Obamacare benefits is a political necessity for congressional Democrats, the large majority of whom will face voters in less than a year. Democrats wrote and passed the law in the face of unified Republican opposition, and if voters aren’t aware of the law’s upside — or can’t remember it amid all the problems with the rollout — Democrats will be holding onto an anchor rather than a buoy.

Desperate and deluded.

kcewa on December 3, 2013 at 8:13 AM

It is going to be fascinating what the lazy shiftless bastard says today when he tells us how everything concerning Obamacare has been fixed…… Full Speed Ahead.

Happy Nomad on December 3, 2013 at 8:14 AM

Well, not to worry. Sandra Fluke has her birth control pills and that’s all the really matters.

Key West Reader on December 3, 2013 at 8:15 AM

I say it’s time to pivot to Jobs!

trigon on December 3, 2013 at 8:16 AM

WaPo: One-third of all Healthcare.gov 834s failed

…no problem!…that’s not 47%!!!….lsm

KOOLAID2 on December 3, 2013 at 8:16 AM

This entire administration is one big incompetent, deceitful lie.

rplat on December 3, 2013 at 8:17 AM

Desperate and deluded.

kcewa on December 3, 2013 at 8:13 AM

Wait until March when the real tidal wave of reality hits. There may be a number of demonrat weasels in mortal danger due to the people’s lives they have ruined and even more sinister, the lives they may have extinguished….

HomeoftheBrave on December 3, 2013 at 8:17 AM

And they want to ultimately go to single payer to run all of healthcare.

Oh sure, they are capable.

tru2tx on December 3, 2013 at 8:18 AM

Well, not to worry. Sandra Fluke has her birth control pills and that’s all the really matters.

Key West Reader on December 3, 2013 at 8:15 AM

Well, now you’ve done it. Disclosing the way Obamacare benefits sluts. And a full 12 days before that one was supposed to be highlighted! At least start with a spoiler alert warning.

Happy Nomad on December 3, 2013 at 8:18 AM

Heck of a job, Barry. Heck of a job.

stenwin77 on December 3, 2013 at 8:20 AM

I say it’s time to pivot to Jobs!

trigon on December 3, 2013 at 8:16 AM

I thought we just did. Or was that the economy? Or Asia? or Immigration?

I’m getting dizzy spinning around this elephant in the room.

Happy Nomad on December 3, 2013 at 8:20 AM

It is going to be fascinating what the lazy shiftless bastard says today when he tells us how everything concerning Obamacare has been fixed…… Full Speed Ahead.

Happy Nomad on December 3, 2013 at 8:14 AM

I believe the phrase is Rahming Speed.

Plus, it depends on what the meaning of “fixed” is. In this case, the neutering definition applies.

Steve Eggleston on December 3, 2013 at 8:20 AM

This is all style over substance which is par for the course with this administration. They are media obsessed and concerned with only their public image. That may be the way you run a campaign for a new movie from Hollywood, but it has nothing to do with how you run a country.

Walter L. Newton on December 3, 2013 at 8:21 AM

I blame Bush. No wait, it was a Youtube video. Look, November 30th wasn’t some kind of red line or anything.

Oh, what difference does it make?

trubble on December 3, 2013 at 8:12 AM

Vast Right Wing Conspiracy!

22044 on December 3, 2013 at 8:22 AM

I believe the phrase is Rahming Speed.

Plus, it depends on what the meaning of “fixed” is. In this case, the neutering definition applies.

Steve Eggleston on December 3, 2013 at 8:20 AM

Rhaming Speed! Ouch that is so bad it think it should be adopted immediately!!! LOL

As to the White House event today, I’m hoping for a repeat of the Sham Wow speech. Full of immediately recognizable lies.

Happy Nomad on December 3, 2013 at 8:26 AM

That may be the way you run a campaign for a new movie from Hollywood, but it has nothing to do with how you run a country.

Walter L. Newton on December 3, 2013 at 8:21 AM

Part of running a campaign for a movie is swag to those who vote for the Oscars. Be very suspicious if you get a bottle of Obamacare aspirin in your mailbox. But don’t throw it away, that could well be the health plan you ordered on Healthcare.gov

Happy Nomad on December 3, 2013 at 8:29 AM

Well, now you’ve done it. Disclosing the way Obamacare benefits sluts. And a full 12 days before that one was supposed to be highlighted! At least start with a spoiler alert warning.

Happy Nomad on December 3, 2013 at 8:18 AM

Obamacare it’s not just for Sandra Fluke anymore….

HT-Drudge link

http://lasvegas.cbslocal.com/2013/12/02/legalized-prostitutes-at-nevadas-bunny-ranch-back-obamacare/

MontanaMmmm on December 3, 2013 at 8:30 AM

Security has to be built in from the very first design considerations. Patching security fixes on a non-secure design usually just makes things worse. The ObamaPain Train Wreck will continue.

JimK on December 3, 2013 at 8:32 AM

Obama to sign up for health insurance through exchange

Catherine II takes a cruise through the Crimea…

kcewa on December 3, 2013 at 8:32 AM

Well, not to worry. Sandra Fluke has her birth control pills and that’s all the really matters.

Key West Reader on December 3, 2013 at 8:15 AM

Really wondering if that sorry cow has actually signed up for LoserCare.

Guessing not.

BigWyo on December 3, 2013 at 8:38 AM

“It’s not my fault the damn thing isn’t working… and I’m on my break now.” – Øbamacare Healthcare.gov ‘navigator.’

ExpressoBold on December 3, 2013 at 8:42 AM

As we approach crunch time for many friends and family members, here is a link that will helps guides folks to the alternatives to Obamacare and help them make an educated decision. As to my 22 yr old son, he continued 1 more yr with his Aetna plan which went up $1 per mo., as opposed to O’care compliant policy which would have doubled his premium and his deductible.

hillsoftx on December 3, 2013 at 8:42 AM

So are we just assuming that the fools who are STILL inputting their personal information into this mess are fools who have no identity worth stealing? It’s unfathomable that anyone with two brain cells to rub together, are just crossing their fingers and hoping for the best.

BettyRuth on December 3, 2013 at 8:43 AM

Catherine II takes a cruise through the Crimea…

kcewa on December 3, 2013 at 8:32 AM


… finds Potemkin Village!

ExpressoBold on December 3, 2013 at 8:44 AM

On the bright side, identity thieves wont know what to do with scrambled applications.

blammm on December 3, 2013 at 8:46 AM

Obama to sign up for health insurance through exchange

kcewa on December 3, 2013 at 8:32 AM

Would be interesting if someone hacked his attempt and released what info obozo enters.

Flange on December 3, 2013 at 8:47 AM

Wait until March when the real tidal wave of reality hits. There may be a number of demonrat weasels in mortal danger due to the people’s lives they have ruined and even more sinister, the lives they may have extinguished….

HomeoftheBrave on December 3, 2013 at 8:17 AM

Well, here is more “reality” that will hit about the same time:

The Wall Street Journal spoke with people familiar with the matter who said the Department of Health and Human Services is in the process of moving the web operations over to HP’s data centers in a move that could take months to complete.

http://www.wirelessweek.com/news/2013/12/report-hp-replaces-verizon-terremark-obamacare-site-host

If you think THAT’S going to be a seamless process, then you’re smoking dope.

climbnjump on December 3, 2013 at 8:49 AM

Question. If the federal government actively encourages you to use a site with substandard security and your identity is stolen, can you sue the federal government?

DaveDief on December 3, 2013 at 8:54 AM

DaveDief on December 3, 2013 at 8:54 AM

The stupid media hasn’t even broach the subject of “standing”. In my opinion, the fraud perpetrated on the taxpaying citizens of this nation DO have standing which could lead to the largest class-action lawsuit in the history – of history. An easy remedy for the people would be this: Repeal. Impeach. Imprison.

HomeoftheBrave on December 3, 2013 at 9:16 AM

So where are all the lawsuits by states and class action type lawsuits against the fraud of ObamaCare?

albill on December 3, 2013 at 9:23 AM

So, 2/3rds are getting through correctly? So where are the reports of the happy customers (other than those signed up for medicade)?

I noted in earlier posts, every time I’ve seen someone on live TV try to demonstrate the site, it fails, error messages or gibberish. Every time.

Could it be that the “1/3rd of 834′s failed” thing is cover for all failures? I mean, when somebody bombs out on the site, they would think, “Oh, drat, I’m part of teh unlucky 1/3rd”?

Smoke screen for total failure?

iurockhead on December 3, 2013 at 9:23 AM

Just a reminder, but no one is “enrolled” in a Health Insurance plan until they make their first payment. there are going to be some seriously pi$$ed off people come 1 January.

Johnnyreb on December 3, 2013 at 9:26 AM

The insurance companies have got to be incredibly nervous right now that the subsidy money promised by Obamacare will ever materialize. If the 834′s are wrong when they receive them, they are probably wrong on the government’s end too–which means the government doesn’t know how much it is supposed to be transferring to the insurance companies.

I predict they aren’t going to paid–certainly not on time or in full.

Furthermore, the risk corridor provisions, in a world of half-information, incorrect information, and untrusted information, could be a minefield of corruption and theft.

HakerA on December 3, 2013 at 9:27 AM

I’ll bet the online scam community can’t wait for a stolen mailing list of Obamacare buyers. Anyone dumb enough to sign up on this Web site is a natural target for Nigerian get-rich-quick schemes, fake pharmaceuticals, and easy credit offers.

jt on December 3, 2013 at 9:27 AM

Would be interesting if someone hacked his attempt and released what info obozo enters.

Flange on December 3, 2013 at 8:47 AM

Single, 27 years old, non smoker, white, childless, earns less than $22k per year.

You know he will cheat.

Bishop on December 3, 2013 at 9:42 AM

The stupid media hasn’t even broach the subject of “standing”. In my opinion, the fraud perpetrated on the taxpaying citizens of this nation DO have standing which could lead to the largest class-action lawsuit in the history – of history. An easy remedy for the people would be this: Repeal. Impeach. Imprison.

HomeoftheBrave on December 3, 2013 at 9:16 AM

I know absolutely nothing about IT work, programming, code, you name it. However I gotta assume that there is some standard in the private sector regarding security and if that standard of security is not met then legal liability is an issue. I know this is a really self-evident comment but with the current state of Obamacare registration these clowns are basically marketing a product through a web site that is under construction. I mean seriously, what private company could get away with this wihtout being hauled into court in short order or at least getting some notice from the government to stop their commerce until the web site is fully functional?

DaveDief on December 3, 2013 at 9:47 AM

So are we just assuming that the fools who are STILL inputting their personal information into this mess are fools who have no identity worth stealing? It’s unfathomable that anyone with two brain cells to rub together, are just crossing their fingers and hoping for the best.

BettyRuth on December 3, 2013 at 8:43 AM

Some people who have had their plans cancelled (and can’t get it back)- who absolutely need the coverage due to illness and expensive, ongoing medical costs- may not have much other choice.
The increases in prices for new “compliant” plans can be absolutely cost prohibitive in many cases, and if they can get a subsidy, it might be the only way to purchase a half-way decent plan and the only way to continue to get much needed treatment.
IOW, I don’t believe it’s only the ding-dongs out there that are putting their personal info at risk. There are probably plenty of people who are now being coerced to use the site, but aren’t one bit happy about it.

lynncgb on December 3, 2013 at 9:48 AM

It’s all good. The government can’t be sued for the security debacle:

Buried in the source code of Healthcare.gov is this sentence that could prove embarrassing: “You have no reasonable expectation of privacy regarding any communication or data transiting or stored on this information system.

Oh, and what is 1/3rd of schmock?

LtGenRob on December 3, 2013 at 10:24 AM

One-third of all Healthcare.gov 834s failed

Well there you go. That means that over 99% of the 834′s passed! /s

Caper29 on December 3, 2013 at 8:04 AM

You would be surprised how many Americans don’t understand the concept of percentages.

slickwillie2001 on December 3, 2013 at 11:00 AM

lynncgb on December 3, 2013 at 9:48 AM

If I were in that position, the first thing I’d sign up for would be an identity protection plan.

txhsmom on December 3, 2013 at 2:18 PM

“We’d like to announce that ObamaCare is now much improved.

“But, we don’t know exactly how much is still flawed, nor how many times.
“And we don’t know that, because Shut Up.”

–Official White House response (English translation)

orangemtl on December 3, 2013 at 2:18 PM

I know absolutely nothing about IT work, programming, code, you name it. However I gotta assume that there is some standard in the private sector regarding security and if that standard of security is not met then legal liability is an issue. I know this is a really self-evident comment but with the current state of Obamacare registration these clowns are basically marketing a product through a web site that is under construction. I mean seriously, what private company could get away with this wihtout being hauled into court in short order or at least getting some notice from the government to stop their commerce until the web site is fully functional?

DaveDief on December 3, 2013 at 9:47 AM

You are correct.

For financial security, there is a “PCI Standard” published by the Payment Card Industry, and demanded by Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover, JCB, and others. Any e-commerce site which does not comply with this standard can be fined and/or refused payment by credit card companies and banks. In addition, they could be sued by any customer who gets defrauded as a result of their negligence.

There are also laws which require the IRS to maintain security of your financial information you submitted on your tax returns. If the IRS divulges data to healthcare.gov, they have violated the law.

In addition, since healthcare.gov handles medical information, failure to maintain security is a gross violation of the HIPPA law.

The problem is that the Obama maladministration feels that they can violate the law any time they feel like it, and the current Congress will fail to hold them accountable.

landlines on December 3, 2013 at 8:58 PM

As and when breaches are discovered, lawsuits claiming appropriate damages will be filed. This may well increase premiums, of course.

virgo on December 3, 2013 at 11:06 PM