POLITICS: PennAve

Jay Carney: Insurance form error rate 'close to zero'

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Politics,White House,Health Care,PennAve,Meghashyam Mali,Jay Carney,Healthcare.gov,Health Care Exchanges

White House press secretary Jay Carney on Friday insisted that error rates for insurance forms being transmitted by healthcare.gov was “close to zero,” despite persistent complaints from insurers that back-end problems are delaying coverage for Americans.

During the daily press briefing he was asked about a report that some insurers say that as many as 5 percent of the "834 Forms" that provide information on enrollees had incorrect or incomplete data.

Carney said that figure likely represented the initially high error rate when healthcare.gov was first launched, and said that the current rate -- after November tech fixes -- was far lower, citing the administration's effort to repair the technical issues that marred the launch of the Obamacare insurance exchanges.

“Some of the reporting on this has blended some of the data and the months involved here,” Carney told reporters.

“The percentage was extremely high in October. That's the bad news,” Carney conceded. But he added: “The silver lining in that very dark cloud was that there weren't that many people who got through the system in October. So that percent — a high percentage of a low number is not that big.

“What has been the case since the improvements were made to the website and since Dec. 1 is that the back-end issues have been aggressively addressed, and the problems have been addressed,” Carney said.

He said that of 1.1 million sign-ups through the federal exchanges there were only “13,000 case-work cases in the system right now.”

“I don’t have my calculator but that’s a relatively low percentage,” he added. “But every one of them is getting direct attention.”

The botched rollout of healthcare.gov undercut Obama's approval ratings and support for his health care reform law.

The administration says that 2.1 million consumers registered by the end of 2013, but refuses to share the breakdown of young, health consumers, or what percentage have actually paid their first month’s premiums.

A large number of healthy consumers are needed to balance out older, sicker patients for Obamacare to work.

The number of sign-ups puts the administration well behind its goal of 7 million enrollees by the end of March 2014.

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