Some find health insurers have no record of themAP , Associated Press
Jan. 9, 2014 12:51 PM ET
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — As millions of people start using health insurance policies they purchased under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, many are finding that their insurance companies have no record of them.
The companies are still trying to sort out cases of so-called health insurance orphans. The government has a record that they enrolled, but the insurer does not.
The government says the problem is real, but it's under control. Officials say they are trying to resolve about 13,000 problem cases out of more than 1 million enrolled through the federal insurance market that serves 36 states.
Insurance companies aren't happy with the pace of the fixes. They're also seeing cases in which the government has assigned the same identification number to more than one person. And there are so-called "ghost" files in which the insurer has an enrollment record, but the government does not.
But the orphaned files -- when the insurer has no record of enrollment -- are causing particular concern, because the companies have no automated way to identify the presumed policyholder. They say they have to manually compare the lists of enrollees the government sends them with their own records, because the government never built an automated system that would do the work much faster.
A spokeswoman for the health care rollout says, "We have fixed the issues that we knew were a problem." She says there are now "nearly zero errors in the work moving forward."
APPHOTO WX501: This photo taken Jan. 5, 2014 shows Sharon Van Daele posing for the photographer in her home in Tucson, Ariz. Record-keeping snags could complicate the start of care this month as millions of people begin using health plans that they purchased under President Barack Obama's law. Among the paperwork orphans was cancer survivor Sharon Van Daele, who went back and forth between her insurer and the federal government for more than a week after her coverage was supposed to start but her insurance card failed to arrive. Unable to get answers, she said it felt as if she had fallen into a black hole.(AP Photo/John Miller) (5 Jan 2014)