They’re vague here on precisely where, and why, the discrepancies are occurring. Is this related to the famous “834” problem on Healthcare.gov, in which information sheets generated by the website for insurers about new enrollees were ending up garbled and/or incomplete? Or is it more of a bureaucracy problem, i.e. the last known residence that the feds have for a new enrollee in their Social Security database doesn’t match the address on the enrollee’s new insurance application? Eyeball this chart to see just how much technological red tape there is to sort through potentially before an enrollee’s identity and eligibility for subsidies can be verified. That’s what they’re talking about here, I think.
Fun fact: In nearly one million of these cases, the discrepancy is related to immigration or citizenship status.
About 1 in 4 people who signed up have discrepancies, creating a huge paperwork jam for the feds and exposing some consumers to repayment demands, or possibly even loss of coverage, if they got too generous a subsidy…
Responding to the document, administration officials expressed confidence that most of the discrepancies can be resolved over the summer. Nonetheless, HHS has set up a system to “turn off” benefits for anyone who is found to be ineligible.
Julie Bataille, communications coordinator for the health care rollout, said most of the discrepancies appear to be due to outdated information in government files — and the “vast majority” of cases are being resolved in favor of consumers. The government is making an all-out effort to reach those with discrepancies, which officials have termed “inconsistencies.”…
Updated numbers provided by Bataille indicate that the total number of people affected remains about the same as a month ago. About 1.2 million have discrepancies related to income; 505,000 have issues with immigration data, and 461,000 have conflicts related to citizenship information.
“[T]he inconsistencies point to the possibility that many enrollees obtained coverage or subsidies without being eligible,” notes The Hill.
The law says that an enrollee’s coverage will continue for 90 days while a discrepancy is being resolved. According to HHS, fully 40 percent of the 2.1 million affected by this — more than 800,000 people — are now outside that window. Think President Overreach will intervene to give them relief if/when HHS decides that it can’t resolve this problem by the end of summer, as it currently hopes to do? No surprise either that most discrepancies are being resolved in favor of enrollees. For obvious reasons, HHS is extremely reluctant to see anyone who signed up bounced from the rolls because the feds can’t get their act together on verification. It’s a potential GOP talking point about incompetence in November; it risks undercutting Obama’s victory lap after having hit the seven-million enrollment mark in April; and it’ll further antagonize the dopey immigration lobby, which has already denounced Obama as the “deporter-in-chief,” if they look too hard at the immigration status of people who’ve finally gotten health-care coverage. The more tremendously backlogged they are, the greater the pressure on HHS will be to rubber-stamp an application and send the new enrollee on his way. Remember, these same people were so far behind on the subsidy infrastructure of the federal website that they ended up leaving applicants on the honor system in declaring their income. If they were willing to look the other way at a fraud opportunity like that, they’re not going to suddenly be hard-asses about resolving a discrepancy on basic information.
And it’s not just the feds who are dealing with a tremendous backlog. It flew under the radar yesterday because of all the Bergdahl news, but Roll Call decided to conduct a survey of all 50 states to see how they’re doing coping with Medicaid applications. Result: Nearly three million people are still waiting to have their applications processed due to bureaucracy, ye olde technological glitches, and the sheer crush of new applicants before the March deadline. Applications are supposed to be processed within 45 days but states with heavy backlogs like California are hoping for/expecting federal “exemptions.” I think His Highness, the King, will accommodate them.
Oh, one more thing: I didn’t notice it at the time but apparently CBO has quietly given up on trying to analyze the future fiscal impact of ObamaCare. Turns out it’s very hard to say whether a law’s a net loser or a net winner as you get further out and its regulatory excrescences grow more complicated, especially when it’s basically a matter of presidential whim whether key provisions get enforced going forward. So we’re now flying completely blind on this enormous boondoggle, with no chance whatsoever of righting the ship for at least two and a half more years. Sleep tight, everyone.