Data problems, hackers continue to plague Obamacare exchanges

posted at 7:21 pm on July 3, 2014 by Mary Katharine Ham

Two reports from the government watchdog for Health and Human Services this week revealed serious data discrepancies among the sign-ups the Obama administration hailed as Obamacare’s triumphant comeback. Those data problems may mean some people got subsidies they shouldn’t have and would have to pay back hefty amounts to the federal government. Phil Klein reports:

Applications for insurance coverage through President Obama’s health care law submitted in the final three months of 2013 contained millions of inconsistencies in which information such as income and immigration status could not be independently verified by the federal government, according to a June report from the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services.

The inconsistencies may have resulted in individuals receiving an improper amount of subsidies, or subsidies that they shouldn’t have been eligible for in the first place — something that could require them to repay the money in future tax bills.

In other cases, inconsistencies led to bizarre outcomes. According to the report, “one marketplace cited situations in which infants and young children included on applications were erroneously identified as incarcerated.”

At issue is the information that individuals are asked to submit when they apply for coverage, such as income, citizenship status, Social Security number, or incarceration status. In theory, once data are submitted, they are supposed to be checked in a massive storage database known as the “hub,” which gathers data from multiple federal agencies.

Between October and December 2013, there were 2.9 million such inconsistencies in applications, according to the report, 2.6 million of which remain unresolved. As Klein makes clear, this doesn’t mean there are 2.9 million separate applications with mistakes because there are many potential data problems on each person’s application. The most common inconsistency had to do with citizenship and immigration status, with income shortly behind. In some cases, the federal government and states with exchanges were not using the verification processes required by their internal rules (well, knock me over with a feather). The AP reports:

Digging out from under the data problem is one of the top challenges facing newly installed HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell.

The administration says it is doing just that. Spokesman Aaron Albright said more than 425,000 inconsistencies have been resolved so far, more than 90 percent of those in favor of the consumer. The administration is hoping to clear up the majority of cases this summer, but may yet have to resort to an extension allowed under the health law.

The inspector general found that the federal insurance exchange reported a total of 2.9 million inconsistencies with consumer data from Oct. 1, 2013 through Feb. 23 of this year.

At the time, the administration had limited technical capability that would have let officials resolve roughly 330,000 of those cases. Only about 10,000 were actually cleared up within the period. Albright said the situation is much improved.

The inspector general said several states running their own insurance markets were having similar problems.


Guy Benson reports on the inspector general’s take on state exchanges:

Democrats celebrated that “8 million new enrollments” figure in a failed attempt to improve public perceptions of the law. That number has always been highly exaggerated — not accounting for duplicates, a substantial non-payment rate, a high percentage of enrollees who were previously insured, and applicants whose coverage may be disrupted by these ongoing data issues. The watchdog report stated that approximately 1.2 million additional “inconsistencies” marred applications processed through state exchanges. More: “During our review, 4 of the 15 State marketplaces reported that they were unable to resolve inconsistencies” at all, including some of the usual suspects such as Oregon. How many data snags have affected the millions of applications filed over the first three-plus months of 2014? The final number will almost certainly be significantly higher.

Meanwhile in Vermont, considered one of the better state exchanges:

A Romanian attacker hacked the Vermont health exchange’s development server last December, gaining access at least 15 times and going undetected for a month, according to records obtained by National Review Online.

CGI Group, the tech firm hired to build Vermont Health Connect, described the risk as “high” in a report about the attack. It also found possible evidence of sophisticated “counter-forensics activity performed by the attacker to cover his/her tracks.”


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Hackers are the least of the worries, although I say that if you leave a big fat plum on the tree in your front yard, you better protect it well or it will disappear.

unclesmrgol on July 3, 2014 at 7:32 PM

Just read an article in the Lexington Herald today, KYnect (Kentucky Obamacare) is going to cost our State $49 million next year.

Yeah us!

Johnnyreb on July 3, 2014 at 7:43 PM

Another O-No-Care thread? Good, I will post like I did earlier:

Some Canadian dumb@$$ on a liberal blog was telling us how O-No-Care was so great.

And she has a lot of fellow clueless Americans who believe as she does.

I predict a troll-free thread. :)

22044 on July 3, 2014 at 7:45 PM

Where is there one thing that bams hasn’t touched that is actually working in our Nation’s favor?

31giddyup on July 3, 2014 at 7:46 PM

Jeez, I am so surprised.

/sarc

rbj on July 3, 2014 at 7:46 PM

C’mon … admit it . . . . . we’re all thinking “vast right-wing conspiracy.”

listens2glenn on July 3, 2014 at 7:46 PM

I predict a troll-free thread. : )

22044 on July 3, 2014 at 7:45 PM

.
Not if they believe they can successfully pin this on “right-wing” saboteurs . . . . . time will tell.

listens2glenn on July 3, 2014 at 7:49 PM

Obamacare’s six-month checkup

The New England Journal of Medicine rounds up what we know so far about the first enrollment period in the Affordable Care Act so far, and most of the news is good. The best of the news is the numbers—20 million total enrollees under the law (includes Medicaid expansion numbers).

Some of the key findings:

Surveys show that 7.8 million young adults, 19-25 years, were enrolled in a parent’s plan and that most of them wouldn’t have been able to do so before the law. The result, according to federal studies, is that the number of uninsured young people dropped by 1 million since the law took effect, with 3 million now uncovered. A fun tidbit—more of these young people covered by their parent’s plans identified themselves as Republican than Democrat in a Commonwealth survey.
The health insurance market off of the exchanges that was set up under the law had a robust year, with the CBO projecting 5 million people gaining coverage outside the exchanges. That’s directly attributed to the law’s passage, both the individual mandate that people must have coverage and the fact that insurance companies now can’t charge huge premiums or shut people out of insurance entirely because of their health status.
The enrollment numbers for 2014, and the risk-sharing provisions of the law that help equalize the coverage burden for insurers, should mean modest premium increases for 2015—Kaiser Family Foundation says they could be as low as 1 to 2 percent.
One of the things keeping premiums low could be a problem going forward: many plans have very narrow networks of providers they’ll cover services from. Some people will probably leave those plans if they find that they’re not getting access to the doctors and hospitals they want or need and might not be able to afford a plan with a larger network. The administration and the several of the states are looking at how much of a problem these narrow networks are, and what can be done to address the problem.
So far, 6 million people—adults and children—have gained Medicaid or CHIP coverage. That number will keep increasing because people can sign up for it at any time, and it includes people in the non-expansion states who discovered they were eligible for traditional Medicaid when they tried to enroll in an exchange. These authors are optimistic about the non-expansion states eventually coming around. They point out that it took about six years for most states to opt in to Medicaid after it passed in 1966, and Arizona waited until 1982.

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMhpr1405667

Ned Pepper on July 3, 2014 at 7:49 PM

Designed to fail … and working as designed.

ShainS on July 3, 2014 at 7:52 PM

Where is there one thing that bams hasn’t touched that is actually working in our Nation’s favor?

31giddyup on July 3, 2014 at 7:46 PM

.
If you figure it out … shut the HANG up, about it.
.
“Loose lips sink ships.”

listens2glenn on July 3, 2014 at 7:53 PM

I predict a troll-free thread. :)

22044 on July 3, 2014 at 7:45 PM

Nope.
|
|
V

Ned Pepper on July 3, 2014 at 7:49 PM

clear ether

eon

eon on July 3, 2014 at 7:54 PM

Ned Pepper on July 3, 2014 at 7:49 PM

Uhhh, no.
You’re trying to waste everyone’s time.

22044 on July 3, 2014 at 7:55 PM

clear ether

eon

eon on July 3, 2014 at 7:54 PM

Wow. Sometimes I underestimate their stupidity!

22044 on July 3, 2014 at 7:56 PM

.
If you figure it out … shut the HANG up, about it.
.
“Loose lips sink ships.”

listens2glenn on July 3, 2014 at 7:53 PM

No worries L2G, as a retired Navy wife, I’m good at sealing lips. : )

31giddyup on July 3, 2014 at 7:57 PM

C’mon … admit it . . . . . we’re all thinking “vast right-wing conspiracy.”

listens2glenn on July 3, 2014 at 7:46 PM

Actually, I’m thinking the same thing I’ve thought from the beginning; Elbonian execution of a plan conceived by Dilbert’s bosses.

Or, if you prefer, a system built by the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation to Golgafrincham B Ark Command Staff specifications.

cheers

eon

eon on July 3, 2014 at 7:58 PM

Or, if you prefer, a system built by the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation to Golgafrincham B Ark Command Staff specifications.

cheers

eon

eon on July 3, 2014 at 7:58 PM

Towel obviously not included.

oscarwilde on July 3, 2014 at 8:03 PM

Data problems, hackers continue to plague Obamacare exchanges

So what? The Vichy GOP still refuses to think about actually repealing it or defunding it, Barky will still yelp about what a success it is like Baghdad Bob, the MSM will still ignore any problems with it, the SCOTASS will still let it trample any Constitutional rights we have left in tatters, and our health insurance and the whole health care industry will still be destroyed by it.

So, what does it matter about what is actually happening with BarkyCare when it’s failure, destruction, criminality and destruction will just carry on, anyway? Does anyone think that any of these problems will add up to squat in getting this offensive piece of anti-American destruction repealed and buried?? Does anyone think that the Vichy GOP even cares about any of this – especially while they’re so busy trying to help flood us with illegals?

*shaking head in utter disgust*

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on July 3, 2014 at 8:06 PM

Where is there one thing that bams hasn’t touched that is actually working in our Nation’s favor?

31giddyup on July 3, 2014 at 7:46 PM
.

If you figure it out … shut the HANG up, about it.
.
“Loose lips sink ships.”

listens2glenn on July 3, 2014 at 7:53 PM

No worries L2G, as a retired Navy wife, I’m good at sealing lips. : )

31giddyup on July 3, 2014 at 7:57 PM

.
Wow … that was kinda’ “semi-prophetic.”
.
God bless you !

listens2glenn on July 3, 2014 at 8:06 PM

C’mon … admit it . . . . . we’re all thinking “vast right-wing conspiracy.”

listens2glenn on July 3, 2014 at 7:46 PM

.
Actually, I’m thinking the same thing I’ve thought from the beginning; Elbonian execution of a plan conceived by Dilbert’s bosses.

Or, if you prefer, a system built by the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation to Golgafrincham B Ark Command Staff specifications.

cheers

eon

eon on July 3, 2014 at 7:58 PM

.
I think that Elbonian executed plan, by Scott Ada- …. I mean Dilbert’s bosses sounds likely.
.
Best cartoon ever. We’ll spend the rest of the night posting links of our favorite Dilbert strips.

listens2glenn on July 3, 2014 at 8:17 PM

Clever. : )

God’s blessings back to you L2G.

31giddyup on July 3, 2014 at 8:18 PM

Look at it this way – those court decisions picking Barrycare apart like so many vultures on the Serengeti are just putting it out of our misery.

formwiz on July 3, 2014 at 8:19 PM

Ned- the uninsurefd rate according to Gallup is back to where it was under Bush

And he didnt blow 2$ trillion, jack up insurance, raid $700b from Medicaid and kill employees hours to do it

Plus America still hates ObamaCare according to RCP

Chuck Schick on July 3, 2014 at 8:20 PM

31giddyup on July 3, 2014 at 8:18 PM

.
And here’s an excellent one (on-topic, no less) for illustrating the “single payer” system that the un-ACA is trying to move us towards.

listens2glenn on July 3, 2014 at 8:26 PM

…not only can we use the excuse with government agencies…that our computer crashed…we can use the ‘hack’ excuse for numerous excuses!

JugEarsButtHurt on July 3, 2014 at 8:42 PM

No wonder they quit announcing total enrollment claims. whatever it is, it’s much lower than 8 million. And it’s going in the wrong direction.

forest on July 3, 2014 at 8:45 PM

Speaking of those enrollment numbers….

cheers

eon

eon on July 3, 2014 at 8:54 PM

No wonder they quit announcing total enrollment claims. whatever it is, it’s much lower than 8 million. And it’s going in the wrong direction.
forest on July 3, 2014 at 8:45 PM Obamacare is falling apart all by itself.

sorrowen on July 3, 2014 at 9:01 PM

eon on July 3, 2014 at 8:54 PM

.
Yup … that works.

listens2glenn on July 3, 2014 at 9:13 PM

…The best of the news is the numbers—20 million total enrollees under the law (includes Medicaid expansion numbers).
 
…Kaiser Family Foundation says…
 
http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMhpr1405667
 
Ned Pepper on July 3, 2014 at 7:49 PM

 
I’ll refer you to Tlaloc and the Kaiser Family Foundation on this one even though I know it doesn’t matter to you and it won’t change your belief one single bit.
 
Still, you should at least be exposed to the actual data from people on your side. Note especially that they, oddly, don’t use any actual numbers. Just percentages. I wonder why?
 

…nearly six in ten (57 percent) of those with Exchange coverage were uninsured prior to purchasing their current plan. ..
 
Among those who were previously uninsured and enrolled in a Marketplace plan, most say the reason they previously lacked coverage was because they couldn’t afford it or had no access to employer-sponsored insurance. Most of this group had been uninsured for a long time – seven in ten (71 percent) say that before buying their current plan they had been uninsured for two years or more
 
http://kaiserfamilyfoundation.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/survey-of-non-group-health-insurance-enrollees-findings-final1.pdf

 
Hint: 71% of 57% of 8 million, then add the result to the best-case 2.36 previously-uninsured signing up for Medicaid.
 
Obamacare only covered 5.6 million previously-uninsured people, and that even includes the Medicaid numbers. Leave out Medicaid and it was only 3.24M previously-uninsured.
 
Only three million people.

rogerb on July 3, 2014 at 9:31 PM

rogerb on July 3, 2014 at 9:31 PM

.
If Ned’ actually comes back and reads that … ouch !

listens2glenn on July 3, 2014 at 9:35 PM

Ed –
You mean the websites aren’t working perfectly on day one two three four five six seven eight nine ten eleven twelve thirteen fourteen fifteen sixteen seventeen eighteen nineteen twenty twenty-one twenty-two twenty-three twenty-four twenty-five twenty-six twenty-seven twenty-eight twenty-nine thirty thirty-one thirty-two thirty-three thirty-four thirty-five thirty-six thirty-seven thirty-eight thirty-nine forty forty-one forty-two forty-three forty-four forty-five forty-six forty-seven forty-eight forty-nine fifty fifty-one fifty-two fifty-three fifty-four fifty-five fifty-six fifty-seven fifty-eight fifty-nine sixty sixty-one sixty-two sixty-three sixty-four sixty-five sixty-six sixty-seven sixty-eight sixty-nine seventy seventy-one seventy-two seventy-three seventy-four seventy-five seventy-six seventy-seven seventy-eight seventy-nine eighty eighty-one eighty-two eighty-three eighty-four eighty-five eighty-six eighty-seven eighty-eight eighty-nine ninety ninety-one ninety-two ninety-three ninety-four ninety-five ninety-six ninety-seven ninety-eight ninety-nine one hundred one hundred one one hundred two one hundred three one hundred four one hundred five one hundred six one hundred seven one hundred eight one hundred nine one hundred ten one hundred eleven one hundred twelve one hundred thirteen one hundred fourteen one hundred fifteen one hundred sixteen one hundred seventeen one hundred eighteen one hundred nineteen one hundred twenty one hundred twenty-one one hundred twenty-two one hundred twenty-three one hundred twenty-four one hundred twenty-five one hundred twenty-six one hundred twenty-seven one hundred twenty-eight one hundred twenty-nine one hundred thirty one hundred thirty-one one hundred thirty-two one hundred thirty-three one hundred thirty-four one hundred thirty-five one hundred thirty-six one hundred thirty-seven one hundred thirty-eight one hundred thirty-nine one hundred forty one hundred forty-one one hundred forty-two one hundred forty-three one hundred forty-four one hundred forty-five one hundred forty-six one hundred forty-seven one hundred forty-eight one hundred forty-nine one hundred fifty one hundred fifty-one one hundred fifty-two one hundred fifty-three one hundred fifty-four one hundred fifty-five one hundred fifty-six one hundred fifty-seven one hundred fifty-eight one hundred fifty-nine one hundred sixty one hundred sixty-one one hundred sixty-two one hundred sixty-three one hundred sixty-four one hundred sixty-five one hundred sixty-six one hundred sixty-seven one hundred sixty-eight one hundred sixty-nine one hundred seventy one hundred seventy-one one hundred seventy-two one hundred seventy-three one hundred seventy-four one hundred seventy-five one hundred seventy-six one hundred seventy-seven one hundred seventy-eight one hundred seventy-nine one hundred eighty one hundred eighty-one one hundred eighty-two one hundred eighty-three one hundred eighty-four one hundred eighty-five one hundred eighty-six one hundred eighty-seven one hundred eighty-eight one hundred eighty-nine one hundred ninety one hundred ninety-one one hundred ninety-two one hundred ninety-three one hundred ninety-four one hundred ninety-five one hundred ninety-six one hundred ninety-seven one hundred ninety-eight one hundred ninety-nine two hundred two hundred one two hundred two two hundred three two hundred four two hundred five two hundred six two hundred seven two hundred eight two hundred nine two hundred ten two hundred eleven two hundred twelve two hundred thirteen two hundred fourteen two hundred fifteen two hundred sixteen two hundred seventeen two hundred eighteen two hundred nineteen two hundred twenty two hundred twenty-one two hundred twenty-two two hundred twenty-three two hundred twenty-four two hundred twenty-five two hundred twenty-six two hundred twenty-seven two hundred twenty-eight two hundred twenty-nine two hundred thirty two hundred thirty-one two hundred thirty-two two hundred thirty-three two hundred thirty-four two hundred thirty-five two hundred thirty-six two hundred thirty-seven two hundred thirty-eight two hundred thirty-nine two hundred forty two hundred forty-one two hundred forty-two two hundred forty-three two hundred forty-four two hundred forty-five two hundred forty-six two hundred forty-seven two hundred forty-eight two hundred forty-nine two hundred fifty two hundred fifty-one two hundred fifty-two two hundred fifty-three two hundred fifty-four two hundred fifty-five two hundred fifty-six two hundred fifty-seven two hundred fifty-eight two hundred fifty-nine two hundred sixty two hundred sixty-one two hundred sixty-two two hundred sixty-three two hundred sixty-four two hundred sixty-five two hundred sixty-six two hundred sixty-seven two hundred sixty-eight two hundred sixty-nine two hundred seventy two hundred seventy-one two hundred seventy-two two hundred seventy-three two hundred seventy-four two hundred seventy-five two hundred seventy-six
verbaluce on October 1, 2013 at 10:18 AM

(H/T NotCoach)

After all, they’ve been far too busy trying to fix the parts people can see to worry about the backend…..

There Goes the Neighborhood on July 3, 2014 at 11:44 PM

Or, if you prefer, a system built by the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation to Golgafrincham B Ark Command Staff specifications.

cheers

eon

eon on July 3, 2014 at 7:58 PM

Towel obviously not included.

oscarwilde on July 3, 2014 at 8:03 PM

All run by Number One, of course.

“Not of the brightest sort, had the odd bit of difficulty tying up his shoelaces, but jolly good officer material for all that.”

There Goes the Neighborhood on July 3, 2014 at 11:50 PM

In WA state, they are one of the few state-run exchanges that got it right.

My journey to serfdom was easy, just click and
FEED THE BEAST FEED THE BEAST FEED THE BEAST
FEED THE BEASTFEED THE BEASTFEEDTHEBEAST

Tard on July 4, 2014 at 12:42 AM

Wow. Sometimes I underestimate their stupidity!

22044 on July 3, 2014 at 7:56 PM

Never underestimate Mr. nEd’s stupidity. Epic.

Closet Optimist on July 4, 2014 at 1:02 AM

CGI Group, the tech firm hired to build Vermont Health Connect, described the risk as “high” in a report about the attack. It also found possible evidence of sophisticated “counter-forensics activity performed by the attacker to cover his/her tracks.”

In other words, CGI doesn’t know what the h3ll the hackers did, if they’re still doing it, or how to stop it.

Winner winner chicken dinner!

Marcola on July 4, 2014 at 2:00 AM

For anyone who might be in the situation where they’ll have to pay back their Obamacare tax credit subsidy – here’s a tool that you can use to determine how you can adjust your withholding taxes now so that you don’t get hit with a major tax bill that will come due on April 15, 2015.

ironman on July 4, 2014 at 7:56 AM

After all, they’ve been far too busy trying to fix the parts people can see to worry about the backend…..

There Goes the Neighborhood on July 3, 2014 at 11:44 PM

Of course you KNOW that when any system lacks a functioning “back end,” the sh1t does not go away, it merely piles up inside.

Eventually you will have an explosion, with excrement all over the place.

landlines on July 4, 2014 at 12:34 PM

In other words, CGI doesn’t know what the h3ll the hackers did, if they’re still doing it, or how to stop it.

Winner winner chicken dinner!

Marcola on July 4, 2014 at 2:00 AM

I’m sure they do. I’ve managed to locate the source of every attempt to penetrate my bastion server; I have an onion skin defense as I’m sure they do. Key is the operation of a separate log server whose job is to alert the ISSO (security person) of any strangenesses in the log reports originating from other servers on the network.

But knowing who is your adversary isn’t quite the same as being able to shut them down or halt their attempts. Mine used to be spammers from Bulgaria and Russia; they are now, nearly 100%, guys from China. They used to be interested in taking over your webserver to serve spam or to install a spambot, but no more — they are trying for your data. My technique now is to find the entire netblok from which the attack originated and to install an IPTABLES filter to DROP any packets coming from that area of the internet. An active and alert defense is what anyone who keeps a machine connected to the internet 24/7 needs.

unclesmrgol on July 4, 2014 at 1:02 PM

After all, they’ve been far too busy trying to fix the parts people can see to worry about the backend…..

There Goes the Neighborhood on July 3, 2014 at 11:44 PM

The people can see that the backend isn’t right either. All those stories about people finding that the doctor they thought was in their network isn’t, or that the price of the insurance didn’t match the price they were quoted online….

And the stories about people having their financial data given to the exchange hacked away…

All of that is backend.

unclesmrgol on July 4, 2014 at 1:07 PM

Just read an article in the Lexington Herald today, KYnect (Kentucky Obamacare) is going to cost our State $49 million next year.

Yeah us!

Johnnyreb on July 3, 2014 at 7:43 PM

I’m surprised that liberal rag even bothered to report it.

BacaDog on July 4, 2014 at 2:23 PM