ObamaCare update: Consumers see progress but insurers smell trouble

Even if it does work better for consumers, there are still problems — particularly the scrambled reports insurers are getting about people who have signed up for coverage through HealthCare.gov. Insurers say they are getting duplicate records and reports that misstate family relationships, such as listing a child as a spouse.

In some cases, enrollment reports are disappearing. With these “orphan records,” insurers have no way of knowing whether a person is signed up for coverage, unless a new customer happens to call the company with questions.

“The biggest concern is that there are going to be people showing up to get their care,” said one person close to the insurance industry, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive issues. “Then [the doctors or hospitals] call us and we have no record, and then the consumer is left frustrated and worried and scared.”

Until such errors stop, “you can’t open the floodgates” to large numbers of Americans using the Web site to sign up for coverage, said an insurance industry official who also spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations with administration officials about how to improve the system.