HealthCare.gov glitch stalls 100K Medicaid enrollments

More than 100,000 people determined eligible for Medicaid or the Children's Health Program through HealthCare.gov remain unenrolled due to "lingering software defects in the federal online marketplace," according to The Washington Post.

White House Senior Communications Advisor Tara McGuinness told the Post the problem affects a "small fraction of Americans who will have access to healthcare from Medicaid," adding that "one hundred percent of those who are having issues are being contacted by us or the states."

The problem may be short-lived since coverage can start retroactively to Jan. 1; but government officials are scrambling to reach affected Americans before they receive healthcare services.

This latest website snafu resulted from back-end technical problems with HealthCare.gov. Specifically, software flaws prevent transfer of applications from federal to state sites when individuals qualify for Medicaid or CHIP based on reported income levels.

Temporary and relatively small in scope or not, this problem has created new reform-related burdens for states: Some continue enrolling new beneficiaries based on incomplete data files received from Washington. The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources is mailing letters to 10,000 residents, and Idaho sent 6,000 mailings through a contractor that worked on New Year's Day.

Last month, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services selected 10 states--Alabama, Delaware, Idaho, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Montana, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and West Virginia--to receive the Medicaid information because their systems are expected to process the information better than other states, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

Early results proved disappointing, the Post noted: In Tennessee, three of 10 records arrived from CMS in December; the rest vanished in cyberspace. No records arrived when CMS sent a second batch of 10 before Christmas. However, improvement was seen in New Mexico on Friday, when the state received 162 of 200 accounts CMS transmitted. And Delaware received all 200 files transferred that same day.

For more:
- here's the Washington Post article

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