Obamacare signups suspected of being flawed; GOP to investigate
The 2014 open enrollment period ended on a triumphant note for the Obama administration with more than 8 million individuals ultimately signed up for healthcare coverage.
But a report released this month by HHS’ Office of the Inspector General suggests that many of those enrollment applications are flawed.
HHS was unable to resolve 90% of the 2.9 million discrepancies found in applications submitted through HealthCare.gov during the first three months of exchange operations, according to the report.
Republicans were quick to seize on that report as evidence that, despite enrollment successes, implementation of Obamacare continues to be a mess. They will dig into the details of the OIG report at a Wednesday hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health. Officials from the watchdog agency are expected to testify. The report “shows that the back-office piece didn’t work as well as expected,” said Stephen Parente, a healthcare policy expert at the University of Minnesota. Roughly three-quarters of the discrepancies dealt with either income or immigration status.
The problems with income could be particularly troubling because that information is used to determine federal subsidies, which are available to individuals with incomes up to 400% of the federal poverty threshold. Nearly 90% of individuals enrolled through the federal exchange were deemed eligible for subsidies.
“That’s the thing that could really be a mess here,” Parente said. “If the subsidy is wrong, then there’s going to be a claw-back.”