White House temporarily fixes back-end issues for insurers

The updated HealthCare.gov website still has glitches, especially with back-end issues for insurers, so the Obama administration is implementing a temporary workaround to ensure insurance companies get paid, reported Reuters.

Although the White House has promoted the federal health insurance exchange as working smoothly for virtually all consumers, insurers have been urging the administration to address the website's inability to provide them with enrollment data and subsidy information, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

Since the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services hasn't completed HealthCare.gov's function transfers subsidies for plan premiums and cost-sharing payments to insurers, the Obama administration is implementing a workaround.

Insurers will estimate how much they are owed and submit that estimate to the government. Once the system is built, the government and insurers can reconcile the payments made with the plan data to "true up" payments, Daniel Durham, vice president for policy and regulatory affairs at America's Health Insurance Plans, told Reuters.

But the latest HealthCare.gov fix places an additional burden on insurers after already having to double-check faulty enrollment data from the HealthCare.gov system. The temporary solution also means insurers must quickly gather financial management systems to make the payment estimates so they can start receiving payments in January.

"The intent is to make sure plans get paid on time, which is a good thing," Durham said, but he added the Obama administration must "recognize that plans are already quite stressed and introducing this at the last minute just adds substantial burden for plans to deal with."

To learn more:
- read the Reuters article