Report: Error rate for applications completed on ObamaCare exchanges is 10 percent

posted at 12:11 pm on December 6, 2013 by Allahpundit

Jonathan Cohn puts on a brave face, but if HHS hit its target of 3.3 million enrollments by December 31st (which it won’t), we’d be talking about 300,000+ applications that needed some form of correction. As it is, they’re likely to make it roughly halfway towards that goal, which still means the number of erroneous applications will reach six figures. Some of the errors will be small, like typos. Some of them won’t be. Do they have the manpower to sort everything out between December 23rd, the deadline for applying for coverage, and January 1st, when the new coverage takes effect?

But the 834 problem is fixable and, according to multiple sources in the public and private sectors, it is being fixed. In fact, one administration official tells The New Republic that preliminary estimates, just now becoming available, suggest the error rate has fallen from one in four during October to one in ten now. And most of those are files insurers received with errors, as opposed to files insurers never received. Plenty of work remains—namely, completing repairs that reduce the error rate further and dealing with the flawed data insurers have already received. But the administration is working with insurers and contractors on both issues…

[Bob] Laszewski, appearing on Fox News this week, said the error rate on Monday was as high as it had been three weeks ago. But other sources have said the latest batches of 834s insurers are, in fact, cleaner. “The enrollment files continue to get better and the new process they put in place this week to deal with the back end issues is making a difference,” says Robert Zirkelbach, spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans. Bryce Williams, who is Managing Director of Exchange Solutions for Towers Watson, says “We are hearing reports from insurers that the quality of the 834s being sent from Healthcare.gov is getting better—for example, fewer cases of children showing up as spouses.” But, he adds, “there are still backend enrollment issues to be fixed.”

WaPo reported a few days ago that the enrollment records of fully one-third of the people who’ve signed up on Healthcare.gov contain some sort of error, but it’s unclear whether that means all errors or “834 errors” specifically. The 834 form, remember, is the data transmitted by the federal website to an insurance company once someone’s finished signing up. If key data is garbled (or, worse, missing), it could delay coverage. There’s lots of heavy breathing on Twitter as I write this about the significance of Cohn’s 10 percent figure, but the real must-read of the day on O-Care, I think, is Politico’s piece on glitches, including 834 glitches, affecting the state exchanges too. We’re still waiting on November data from the states but they have, almost certainly, enrolled many more people so far than the balky Healthcare.gov has. Their websites have, for the most part, been working better than the federal one has, leading people to believe that their enrollments have been properly processed by insurers. As it turns out, given the sheer volume of people who’ve signed up through the state exchanges, they may be generating more errors for insurers than Healthcare.gov has:

Insurers in Kentucky and New York, for example, say they’ve received flawed 834 enrollment forms from their local exchanges, though the extent of the errors is unclear. Washington state has already had to correct thousands of 834s with faulty information about federal tax credits.

Several state exchanges waited until late last month to even start sending application data to insurers, meaning potential errors haven’t had much time to surface…

“In general, the situation is the same for the state-run exchanges as it is for the federally facilitated exchanges,” said Tony Felts, a spokesman for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, one of Kentucky’s major insurers. “As far as the quality of the data that’s coming in, I can’t say that everything has been completely accurate. Nor has everything been completely inaccurate.” It’s too early, he added, to know if the problems have been solved…

Eileen Smith, spokeswoman for the trade association Minnesota Council of Health Plans, said insurers fear they’re getting the same kind of bad or missing data from the state exchange that HealthCare.gov is sending. Given that the first batch of 834s didn’t arrive from MNsure until last week, insurers are trying to quickly review the material. They’ve already discovered problems with child-only policies.

There are, in Politico’s words, “big problems with the files” in New York’s exchange according to an industry source, which is especially bad news for HHS given the size of the population. So here’s the situation facing insurers right now: Seventeen days out from the year-end deadline for enrollment, they’ve got four heavy logistical burdens weighing on them. One is sorting through data errors generated by the exchanges; two is processing the backlog of applications that they haven’t gotten to yet (25,000 in California alone); three is preparing, technologically and otherwise, for the flood of applications to come over the next two weeks as people without coverage try to sneak in under the wire; and four is the low-profile but important problem I flagged for you yesterday, the fact that lots and lots of people who’ve signed up surely haven’t made their first month’s premium payment yet. Those people will need to be contacted, and since we’re talking about revenue here, the companies might not want to rely on a mass e-mail alone. Phone calls will be made, which means even more manpower. If the industry can’t meet any one or more of these four challenges, there’ll be some degree of chaos next month as coverage goes, or rather doesn’t go, into effect. The only question is how extensive it’ll be.

Exit question: Assuming, safely, that insurers can’t cope with all of that before New Year’s Day, leaving some segment of people who’ve signed up in limbo, what will the stopgap measures look like? I’m thinking that, so long as you’re in their system somewhere, insurers will agree to cover you starting on January 1st even if they haven’t gotten your application straightened out or received your first payment yet. Uncle Sam will keep the revenue flowing. Easy peasy.


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That’s pretty standard. Just ask amazon.

mankai on December 6, 2013 at 12:14 PM

obmandela

Schadenfreude on December 6, 2013 at 12:15 PM

obamandela

Schadenfreude on December 6, 2013 at 12:15 PM

Hey, y’all, get with it.

obama is Mandela.

Schadenfreude on December 6, 2013 at 12:15 PM

How long do you figure McDonalds would be in business if they failed on every one in ten burgers?

socalcon on December 6, 2013 at 12:16 PM

Uncle Sam will keep the revenue flowing. Easy peasy.

Heil Bernanke/Yellin!!!

Schadenfreude on December 6, 2013 at 12:16 PM

How long do you figure McDonalds would be in business if they failed on every one in ten burgers?

socalcon on December 6, 2013 at 12:16 PM

Well, if they paid a living wage……… ;0

Happy Nomad on December 6, 2013 at 12:17 PM

Glitches…

ghostwalker1 on December 6, 2013 at 12:17 PM

It’s not just the 5 million or so, it will be 100 million in short order, as soon as 2014 begins.

The media, in obama’s azz, are deceiving you.

Plus, learn the real truth – not only ins. plans and doctors will be lost, entire hospitals too, the best of the best, no specialists and special treatment for the most horrific clinical findings, for children and etc. In FL, for one large region, there is ONE specialist for 270 children, all by obama’care’ design. This was in the hearings, two days ago.

obama and his capos, the ones who voted for obama’care’, yes, you Landrieu and Pryor, will be directly responsible for myriad of deaths, all on TV.

Add the economic woes, the millions who’ll be under- and un-employed, directly as a result of obama’care’, the ruined land, financially, by the trillions…and the over one hundred million uninsured…

So much to type, but it will all unfold shortly.

May obama, all who voted for it, and the ins. and medical device companies which stood with him go to Hell, and burn slowly/painfully.

Schadenfreude on December 6, 2013 at 12:19 PM

Private sector velocity.

antipc on December 6, 2013 at 12:19 PM

obama is Mandela.

Schadenfreude on December 6, 2013 at 12:15 PM

Yeah, to hear the media tell it there is no difference between Mandela and Obama. One is a towering figure and an inspiration to millions. The other is a 95-year-old who just died.

Happy Nomad on December 6, 2013 at 12:19 PM

Too high. If I had that failure rate at my job, I would have been out the door soon after hire.

Philly on December 6, 2013 at 12:19 PM

3.3 Million by December 31st? Really? Brave face indeed.

oldroy on December 6, 2013 at 12:21 PM

we may never see another speaker as powerfully inspirational as Obama in our lifetimes

nonpartisanhack on December 5, 2013 at 10:36 PM

Schadenfreude on December 6, 2013 at 12:21 PM

Yeah, to hear the media tell it there is no difference between Mandela and Obama. One is a towering figure and an inspiration to millions. The other is a 95-year-old who just died.

Happy Nomad on December 6, 2013 at 12:19 PM

But they are both commies.

One had white people killed.

The other one will.

Schadenfreude on December 6, 2013 at 12:21 PM

And this doesn’t even include the people who lied about their income to qualify for a subsidy.

Ronnie on December 6, 2013 at 12:22 PM

In fact, one administration official tells The New Republic that preliminary estimates, just now becoming available, suggest the error rate has fallen from one in four during October to one in ten now

Trust this.

Key West Reader on December 6, 2013 at 12:23 PM

And this doesn’t even include the people who lied about their income to qualify for a subsidy.

Ronnie on December 6, 2013 at 12:22 PM

For Obama this is how you do it…..lie….get your benefit….get caught….lie….rinse and repeat until you are dead….it is the liberal way.

redguy on December 6, 2013 at 12:24 PM

BTW, in the clinical research field, if we hit an error rate of 2% then we have to basically re-conduct the drug trial.

Defenestratus on December 6, 2013 at 12:24 PM

I own ten miles of ocean front property in Arizona that’s for sale.

tmgrant on December 6, 2013 at 12:25 PM

In fact, one administration official tells The New Republic that preliminary estimates, just now becoming available, suggest the error rate has fallen from one in four during October to one in ten now

And the moon is made of green cheese…

sandee on December 6, 2013 at 12:25 PM

Those people will need to be contacted, and since we’re talking about revenue here, the companies might not want to rely on a mass e-mail alone. Phone calls will be made, which means even more manpower. If the industry can’t meet any one or more of these four challenges, there’ll be some degree of chaos next month as coverage goes, or rather doesn’t go, into effect. The only question is how extensive it’ll be.

Hey! Obama fixed the unemployment rate!

Key West Reader on December 6, 2013 at 12:26 PM

Go find a ditch to die in.
lostmotherland on December 21, 2012 at 6:49 PM

Schadenfreude on December 6, 2013 at 12:27 PM

Imagine if a doctor killed 1 in 10 patients he treated. That’s a horrific “success” rate.

HotAirian on December 6, 2013 at 12:29 PM

And,……………………………

Obama health care law
19m
===

Some HHS officials knew in August small business insurance marketplace wouldn’t be ready by Oct. 1, e-mails show – @washingtonpost
read more on washingtonpost.com
=================================

Some HHS officials knew small business exchange wouldn’t be ready, e-mails show

By Juliet Eilperin
December 6 at 12:00 pm
**************************

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/12/06/some-hhs-officials-knew-in-august-small-business-exchange-wouldnt-be-ready-by-oct-1-e-mails-show/

canopfor on December 6, 2013 at 12:31 PM

The site will be the least of all their problems. It will be peanuts.

obama’care’ is a national travesty.

Lots of people will die, due to obama and obama’care’, and all who brung it. Mark it.

Schadenfreude on December 6, 2013 at 12:32 PM

Imagine if a doctor killed 1 in 10 patients he treated. That’s a horrific “success” rate.

HotAirian on December 6, 2013 at 12:29 PM

Planned Parenthood must be really successful. They kill about 1 in 2.

Ronnie on December 6, 2013 at 12:34 PM

Schadenfreude on December 6, 2013 at 12:15 PM

Obama IS our Mandela. A communist who encourages terrorists.

TXUS on December 6, 2013 at 12:38 PM

But it’s worse-

Unless you can single out the flawed applications, you have to verify all of them manually. So it’s not 10% of them you have to check its 100%

If the error rate was 0.5% you’d let it go an fix it once you’d realize it. With an error rate this big you have to fix it before you implement.

This also allows for fraud on a massive scale – “i didn’t lie – my information came out the other end wrong”. They have a plausible reason that the information is incorrect – the system f’ed it up.

Green_Bay_Packers on December 6, 2013 at 12:38 PM

Doesn’t make any difference. Obamacare is Benghazi. No one cares except conservative blogs.

happytobehere on December 6, 2013 at 12:42 PM

That’s light-years from six sigma! Heck it’s a parallel universe if you’re one of the “escapes”.

freedomfirst on December 6, 2013 at 12:42 PM

If the industry can’t meet any one or more of these four challenges, there’ll be some degree of chaos next month as coverage goes, or rather doesn’t go, into effect. The only question is how extensive it’ll be.

Oh! I’m sure the public will calmly understand if they go to get treatment and find out that, while there is no record of them in the system, their cocker spaniel is fully covered under Obamacare.

Just livin’ the adventure that is Obamacare.

Happy Nomad on December 6, 2013 at 12:43 PM

No way there are even 1 million enrollees in INSURANCE. Now if you include medicaid then it is possible to get to 1+ million.

jukin3 on December 6, 2013 at 12:45 PM

This also allows for fraud on a massive scale – “i didn’t lie – my information came out the other end wrong”. They have a plausible reason that the information is incorrect – the system f’ed it up.

Green_Bay_Packers on December 6, 2013 at 12:38 PM

That could well be the case. There have been countless stories about people who were quoted the wrong prices for premiums. Not from any fraud on their part but the way the system was built. Obama is so scared of people finding out the truth that it is designed to err on the side of generosity when it comes to finding subsidies.

Happy Nomad on December 6, 2013 at 12:46 PM

there is ONE specialist for 270 children, all by obama’care’ design. This was in the hearings, two days ago.

Sorry if I’m wrong, but I heard it was MUCH worse. The stat I heard was 7 pediatricians for 270,000 children in the county. That computes to nearly 40,000 children per pediatrician.

I hope I heard incorrectly and that your number was the correct one.

freedomfirst on December 6, 2013 at 12:46 PM

Uncle Sam will keep the revenue flowing. Easy peasy.

– Allah

That’s it, frogs. And that’s how they keep this thing alive. They’ll just re-imburse the ins companies for their loss with tax payer money, loans and money printing. No one will know it happened. Everyone will assume Ocare is working sort of. Money from nothing. Sure, you can’t keep your doctor, frogs. Sure, the quality of HC will get worst, frogs. But it will all happen slow enough. Frog people, enjoy your warm bath.

That shutdown way back when might have been our last chance to stop this. I can’t wait to see how the moderate “let it destroy itself” plan works. The pols who pilloried Cruz for the shutdown have been silent on OCare these last weeks. They are moving on? Allah, how about you? You made fun of the filibuster. What’s the end game? What’s HA’s favoured plan for stopping Ocare? You know what Obama and the Dems strategy is(see your quote above). What’s the counter strategy? You don’t have one, right? Didn’t think it through I guess. You are not alone. Neither did the rest of the center right pundits and politicos.

I don’t want to be raging too much on my 2cnd favorite blog so I’ll add this

+ You and Ed are good writers and raise interesting points. You are not the best political minds(see -HA’s inane- looking like wrong headed – snark over the Cruz filibuster) but you are still very good blog writers. *again, bad at the gamesmanship. Probably not good poker players. Unfortunate, given the stakes.

BoxHead1 on December 6, 2013 at 12:46 PM

If the industry can’t meet any one or more of these four challenges, there’ll be some degree of chaos next month as coverage goes, or rather doesn’t go, into effect. The only question is how extensive it’ll be.

lolz..it will be mass chaos. The fun hasn’t even started yet.
Book marking this one.

bazil9 on December 6, 2013 at 12:47 PM

an you imagine a 10% error rate with you personal health decisions!

rjoco1 on December 6, 2013 at 12:47 PM

That could well be the case. There have been countless stories about people who were quoted the wrong prices for premiums. Not from any fraud on their part but the way the system was built. Obama is so scared of people finding out the truth that it is designed to err on the side of generosity when it comes to finding subsidies.

Happy Nomad on December 6, 2013 at 12:46 PM
…………………………….

And the Plaintiff’s Bar is licking its fingers, ready to pounce on these insurers. What a farking boondoggle of ObamaProportions.

Key West Reader on December 6, 2013 at 12:52 PM

90% error free! Close enough for government work!

simkeith on December 6, 2013 at 12:52 PM

10% error rate? I don’t believe it. I bet it’s at least 3x that.

ncjetsfan on December 6, 2013 at 1:01 PM

AND REMEMBER, KING BARACK HAS SAID THIS WON’T COST TAXPAYERS ONE DIME!

GarandFan on December 6, 2013 at 1:01 PM

What if 10% of the planes that take off fall out of the sky?

tru2tx on December 6, 2013 at 1:04 PM

This too

Schadenfreude on December 6, 2013 at 1:07 PM

Obama IS our Mandela. A communist who encourages terrorists.

TXUS on December 6, 2013 at 12:38 PM

But they are both commies.

One had white people killed.

The other one will.

Schadenfreude on December 6, 2013 at 12:21 PM

Schadenfreude on December 6, 2013 at 1:08 PM

You would be forgiven if you failed to properly input 10% of your IRS tax form.

Bishop on December 6, 2013 at 1:13 PM

Good news from the FAA.

Yesterday 90% of all domestic airline flights ended safely, up from the dismal 87% recorded on Wednesday.

The FAA administrator SPOX said “Expecting 100% is not the goal…..”

BobMbx on December 6, 2013 at 1:27 PM

there is ONE specialist for 270 children, all by obama’care’ design. This was in the hearings, two days ago.

Sorry if I’m wrong, but I heard it was MUCH worse. The stat I heard was 7 pediatricians for 270,000 children in the county. That computes to nearly 40,000 children per pediatrician.

I hope I heard incorrectly and that your number was the correct one.

freedomfirst on December 6, 2013 at 12:46 PM

Typical panel size for family practice is 3000 so 270 is not enough kids to support a pediatrician, but 40,000 will not go well.

talkingpoints on December 6, 2013 at 1:39 PM

“This is your Captain speaking, I would like to remind all passengers that 10% of our landings have errors and, as always, thank you for flying O’disaster Air”…..

hillsoftx on December 6, 2013 at 1:50 PM

Sorry not buying it…. If the entirely credible IT folks were correct in Oct about the abject failure that is healthcare.gov then no way are they anywhere close to only having 10 % error in applications… Not even close!

Caseoftheblues on December 6, 2013 at 1:57 PM

We know it’s now going well because we’d be hearing leaks of HIGHER THAN EXPECTED ENROLLMENTS if it were the case.

Trying to get accurate measurements of this boondoggle’s ‘success’ is like getting the damned nuke codes.

Good Lt on December 6, 2013 at 2:02 PM

Are the files with errors bright red? Or do they have to check every file to see if it might contain errors?

BKeyser on December 6, 2013 at 3:18 PM

So, if Amazon lost 10% of their transactions, they would lose at least 50-75% of their sales

ConservativePartyNow on December 6, 2013 at 4:00 PM

Trying to get accurate measurements of this boondoggle’s ‘success’ is like getting the damned nuke codes.

Good Lt on December 6, 2013 at 2:02 PM

Here ya’ go
000000000000

You’re welcome!

lfwest on December 6, 2013 at 5:01 PM