Healthcare.gov's Latest Glitch: Unusable Medicaid Data
Just when you thought it was safe to step back into the water of the "fixed" Obamacare website, another glitch, this time in sending data on Medicaid, has The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services writing a memo to the 36 states using the federal website last week acknowledging the information wasn't being transferred automatically and saying another system was being developed to send it. Potentially affecting tens of thousands of Medicaid recipients, ABC reports, "Essentially, if you're a consumer on healthcare.gov, it will tell you you're eligible for Medicaid and the state agency will take care of it, but there's no real way for the state Medicaid agency to know anything about it." The information, according to AP, is incomplete with regard to verifying eligibility and as South Carolina's HHS Director notes, "it's going to be a gigantic logistical mess."
People shopping for insurance on the federal marketplace may be informed they're eligible for Medicaid and that their information is being sent to state officials to sign them up. However, states say they aren't able to enroll them because they're receiving incomplete data from the Obama administration.
The technical problem could affect tens of thousands of Medicaid applicants and represents the latest issue to arise in the rollout of a website that's been plagued with long waits for users and other glitches.
Some users who fill out applications on the federal site may believe that they're already being enrolled in Medicaid or that state officials will contact them, even though the agencies aren't receiving the information they need,
"Essentially, if you're a consumer on healthcare.gov, it will tell you you're eligible for Medicaid and the state agency will take care of it, but there's no real way for the state Medicaid agency to know anything about it,"
Tony Keck, director of South Carolina's Department of Health and Human Services, said that so far his agency has been receiving garbled data that may include a name but no address or three digits from a social security number.
"What they're sending us is essentially the same type of bad data they're sending the insurance companies, and we can't do anything with it," Keck said. "That's frustrating, because there's going to be a lot of people who think they're enrolled, especially now that they're doing all the marketing and phone calls and enrollment's increasing on the website as it's improved."
He said he's worried that "Medicaid applications are going to get stuck in this black hole somewhere."
As of Wednesday, Florida officials said they're waiting on the federal government to transfer 35,056 applications, representing 48,664 individuals, who are eligible for Medicaid and CHIP. But federal health officials warned the "the eligibility indicator field on the flat file is not accurate and we have no way to validate these numbers,"
"It's going to be a gigantic logistical mess," he said. "You would think that the White House being caught in imprecise language about keeping your plan would learn to be more precise in their language. It's frustrating they continue to oversell what's happening."
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