Hill staffers warned not to rely on info from ObamaCare exchange

December 11, 2013, 02:31 pm

Hill staffers warned not to rely on info from ObamaCare exchange

By Jonathan Easley

Capitol Hill staffers who signed up for ObamaCare through the Washington, D.C., healthcare exchange, called DC Health Link (DCHL), are being told to confirm their enrollments in person, and not to rely on data provided by the website.

The Hill obtained an email sent to staffers on Wednesday warning them, “it is essential that you confirm your coverage in DCHL through the Disbursing Office.”

“Do not rely on your ‘My Account’ page or other correspondence from DCHL,” the email reads.

“Please do not assume you are covered unless you have seen the confirmation letter from the Disbursing Office,” the email continues.

Capitol Hill workers had until Monday to sign up for healthcare in D.C., where members and their staffs are eligible for a generous employer healthcare subsidy from the government.

DC Health Link, the online healthcare portal for the District, has experienced a number of technical issues over the last few weeks.

According to the email obtained by The Hill, those staffers who were not able to enroll because of technical difficulties now have until Dec. 16 to sign up. The extension was granted because of problems with the website.

“If, during Open Season, you took steps to enroll in DCHL, but were not successfully enrolled and confirmed, and you notify the Disbursing Office of this by Dec. 16th, you will be provided with a ‘Special Enrollment Period’ to enroll through the DCHL, with a January 1, 2014 effective coverage date,” the email reads.

The Obama administration has been under pressure to guarantee that those who sign up for healthcare through the federal exchanges will be covered by Jan. 1.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is manually fixing thousands of flawed enrollment transmissions sent from HealthCare.gov to insurance companies in October and November.

After weeks of pressure from journalists, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said that as much as 25 percent of enrollment transmissions sent from the federal portal to insurers were either garbled or contained bad data.

Based on HHS’s enrollment figures, upwards of 30,000 applications might need to be re-evaluated before the end of the year.

The problem creates the need for federal health officials to reconcile individual enrollment records with a long list of insurers in a process one official described as "very intensive."

The process represents the next hurdle for the CMS as it seeks to ensure that every recent applicant at HealthCare.gov could use their coverage starting next year.

Without a fully functioning system, policyholders will encounter problems and could be unsure if they’re covered by the insurance they believe they’ve purchased, creating another firestorm for the administration.

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