Sites improve but 834 data still needs work

December 11, 2013

Plans see partially accurate 834s

Two million consumers have competed the eligibility process on healthcare.gov and the state exchange sites but still have yet to select a plan. Separately, nearly 365,000 individuals have selected plans, which the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) says is evidence of the improvement gained from hundreds of technology fixes made since October 1.

“Healthcare.gov is working smoothly for a vast majority of users,” says Michael Hash, director of the HHS Office of Health Reform.

Federal and state sites logged 39 million visits, and call centers answered 5.2 million calls to date, he says. HHS has a goal of 7 million enrollments through the exchanges by the end of the open enrollment period: March 31, 2014.

In a press call on the evening of December 10, Hash reiterated the comment that the federal site is “night and day” from where it was on October 1.

In addition, Julie Bataille, spokesperson, says HHS is working “on a daily basis” with insurance plans to scrub 834 data from past applications as well as to deliver clean 834s from the now-updated site.

SummaCare, an Akron, Ohio-based health plan that is offering products on the healthcare.gov site, is receiving 834 data, and IT leaders for the plan say the information is 70% to 80% complete. In addition, some transmissions aren’t coming across in the standard format. SummaCare is sorting the 834s and auditing information as it arrives to eliminate duplications, format the information and prepare the enrollment for the new members.

“We’re very focused right now on making sure consumers who have selected a plan can complete the steps necessary to enroll in a plan, especially to have coverage by January 1,” Bataille says.

Enrollment is not complete until the member pays the first premium. HHS says December 23 is still the last day for signing up for coverage to take effect on January 1.

HHS reports:

  • November’s federal enrollment number outpaced the October number by more than four times.

  • Nearly 1.2 million Americans, based only on the first two months of open enrollment, have selected a plan or had a Medicaid or CHIP eligibility determination;
  • Of those, 364,682 Americans selected plans from the state and federal Marketplaces; and

  • 803,077 Americans were determined or assessed eligible for Medicaid or CHIP by the Health Insurance Marketplace.

  • 39.1 million visitors have visited the state and federal sites to date.

  • There were an estimated 5.2 million calls to the state and federal call centers.

The report groups findings by state and federal marketplaces.  In some cases only partial datasets were available for state marketplaces.  The report features cumulative data for the two month period because some people apply, shop, and select a plan across monthly reporting periods. These counts avoid potential duplication associated with monthly reporting. 

For example, if a person submitted an application in October, and then selected a marketplace plan in November, this person would only be counted once in the cumulative data.