CMS struggling to fix enrollment errors

About 22,000 people have filed appeals with the government about errors HealthCare.gov made when they signed up for coverage; however, the federal exchange website can't help them, The Washington Post reported.

Although consumers should be able to file appeals by computer, phone or mail, only the postal option is available. Regardless of communication channel, HealthCare.gov's appeals system does not work, preventing federal workers from handling the appeals and changing enrollment records, the Post noted.

Enrollment errors include charging consumers too much for insurance, directing consumers to the wrong insurance program and denying coverage entirely.

"We are working to fully implement the appeals system," Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services spokesman Aaron Albright told the Post. "We are inviting those consumers back to HealthCare.gov, where they can reset and successfully finish their applications without needing to complete the appeals process," he said.

The appeals process ranks at the bottom of the priority list for fixing broken features on the HealthCare.gov system, according to the Post. Top priorities include an electronic payment system for insurers, computerized exchange of enrollment information with state Medicaid programs, and the ability to update people's coverage for new babies, according to the Post.

Although HealthCare.gov was supposed to include electronic "change in circumstance" updates for the birth of a baby, marriage, divorce, death in the family or a new job, federal officials postponed the feature when other technical problems overwhelmed the website during the rollout last fall, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

With insurers still facing back-end problems with HealthCare.gov, the Obama administration implemented a temporary workaround to ensure insurance companies get paid. Permanent back-end functionality remains a top priority because failure to fix the issues by mid-March could send insurers into bankruptcy and jeopardize the whole healthcare industry, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

To learn more:
- read the Post article

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