"No Way To Tell How Many People Who Have Signed Up For Obamacare Actually Have"

Tyler Durden's picture

The Obamacare enrollment portal is the gift that keeps on giving endless examples of government incompetence. The latest comes from Bloomberg which informs us that "there’s no way to tell how many people who think they’ve signed up for health insurance through the U.S. exchange actually have, after about 1 in 4 enrollments sent to insurers from the federal website had garbled included incomplete information." Still that particular glitch was not enough to prevent Obama from taking full credit for a "fixed" website after somehow the White House managed to calculate that sign ups soared to 100,000 people, and have taken off since the "fix."


[T]he acknowledgment suggests consumers need to be vigilant about their health plan purchases. Letters from insurers confirming coverage can take a week or more, and the Obama administration now says people should call their companies if they aren’t contacted within that time.


With repairs to the front end of healthcare.gov leading to a spurt of 29,000 new enrollments in the first two days of December, U.S. officials are now focusing on what happens after customers select a plan on the website. Enrollment isn’t complete until consumers make their first payment, which is due Dec. 31 for insurance coverage that will begin on Jan. 1.


It’s time for people to move toward locking in coverage and paying for it,” said Joel Ario, a consultant with Manatt Health Solutions, in a telephone interview. Insurers will face “a tall challenge” trying to resolve enrollment errors as the time shortens before coverage begins Jan. 1, he said.


The Centers For Medicaid & Medicare Services, which runs the federal health website, doesn’t have “precise numbers” on how many of the enrollment forms called 834s have been sent to insurers or how many have errors, Julie Bataille, an agency spokeswoman, said during a Dec. 6 conference call.

One aspect where Obamacare is working, is where the government decided to bypass the healthcare.gov 500 million lines of code monstrocity entirely and allow consumers to enroll directly with state insurance companies.

A project the government began two weeks ago with 16 insurance companies in three states -- Texas, Florida and Ohio - - to allow them to enroll people directly into health plans, bypassing healthcare.gov, has improved the working relationship among the government’s technicians and those at the companies, said a person familiar with the work who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The new cooperation has helped to resolve issues with the data transfers, the person said.

Alas, the bulk of the enrollment problems remain when using the central portal:

“In general our 834 files have been pretty good,” said Kathleen Oestreich, CEO of Meritus, a Tempe, Arizona, startup insurer funded by government loans. The company has seen only one “orphan” member, she said -- a person who called and said they hadn’t received an enrollment notice even though they had picked Meritus as their insurer.


More troubling are “ghosts” -- people whose files never reach their insurers, Robert Laszewski, an insurance industry consultant, said. It’s unclear how many people may fall into that category or how companies will identify or reach them.


“If they enroll 500,000 people and 25,000 of them walk into the doctor’s office and nobody knows who they are, that’s a problem,” he said in a phone interview.

It is indeed. And it is just the start, because while the enrollment process of Obamacare will (one hopes) eventually be fixed, that will merely unleash all new, and far more disturbing problemsn. Such as the deductible sticker shock that is about to be unleashed upon Americans in need of medical aid, especially those who choose the cheaper "bronze" plan. The WSJ reports:

As enrollment picks up on the HealthCare.gov website, many people with modest incomes are encountering a troubling element of the federal health law: deductibles so steep they may not be able to afford the portion of medical expenses that insurance doesn't cover. The average individual deductible for what is called a bronze plan on the exchange—the lowest-priced coverage—is $5,081 a year, according to a new report on insurance offerings in 34 of the 36 states that rely on the federally run online marketplace.


That is 42% higher than the average deductible of $3,589 for an individually purchased plan in 2013 before much of the federal law took effect, according to HealthPocket Inc., a company that compares health-insurance plans for consumers. A deductible is the annual amount people must spend on health care before their insurer starts making payments.


The health law makes tax credits available to help cover insurance premiums for people with annual income up to four times the poverty level, or $45,960 for an individual. In addition, "cost-sharing" subsidies to help pay deductibles are available to people who earn up to 2.5 times the poverty level, or about $28,725 for an individual, in the exchange's silver policies. As enrollment picks up on HealthCare.gov, many people with modest incomes are encountering a troubling element: deductibles so steep they may not be able to afford the portion of medical expenses that insurance doesn't cover. 


But those limits will leave hundreds of thousands or more people with a difficult trade-off: They can pay significantly higher premiums for the exchange's silver, gold and platinum policies, which have lower deductibles, or gamble they won't need much health care and choose a cheaper bronze plan. Moreover, the cost-sharing subsidies for deductibles don't apply to the bronze policies.


That means some sick or injured people may avoid treatment so they don't rack up high bills their insurance won't cover, according to consumer activists, insurance brokers and public-policy analysts—subverting one of the health law's goals, which is to ensure more people receive needed health care. Hospitals, meantime, are bracing for a rise in unpaid bills from bronze-plan policyholders, said industry officials and public-policy analysts.

Ah: central planning, also known in the now-defunct USSR as the where "whatever can go wrong, will." As Obama (and soon the Fed) are learning first hand...

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bugs_'s picture

Acorn registered Mickey Mouse to vote - so its a good guess he has Obamacare now too.

Rainman's picture

Dead voters don't need or want ObamaScare, but they'll get it anyway and they will like it.

Skateboarder's picture

Making families pay for the dead's ailments past death? That's the best tax I ever heard of.

ZH Snob's picture

It's like a synthesis of the novels Dead Souls by Gogol and The Trial by Kafka

HardlyZero's picture

Using the money of the unborn to pay for the dead beneficiaries.

Borrowing from the future.

BurningFuld's picture

Why not just give everyone healthcare? Which is the goal anyhow. Then just charge everyone a set amount every month. For simplicity you could just add it to peoples taxes. Where have I seen this before??

This would eliminate the largest lobby group in Washington also, thereby accomplishing something else the majority of people want.

Not so good if you are a health insurance company I guess.

HardlyZero's picture

Doing it without doing it.  Its a Zen puzzle or tautology.

Take your pick.

James-Morrison's picture

Next year Obamacare 2.0 hits the street.

That's when everyone else in the "safe", company-based pools of healthy people are affected.

After the shit-pool of applicants from Obamacare 1.0 realize that it is "unfair" to be grouped only with other sick people, Obamacare 2.0 will force changes to everyone's policies.

Something like:  either let the first wave join your plans,  or dump your healthy employees into the shit pool.

Don't forget, most of the people affected by this year's Obamacare folly are not employed (or employable).

Welcome to the deep end of the pool...


johnQpublic's picture

a 5 thousand dollar healthplan with a five thousand dollar deductible and an income of 28 thousand dollars before taxes


guess who is eating nothing but dog food this year

Papasmurf's picture

And guess who is eating filet mignon at their expense.

Jethro's picture

When this happens, we have have health-care parity with Cuba.  Lots and lots of "doctors" but no specialists.  There will be no incentive to become a doctor because socilaism simply doesn't reward effort.  You may as well consider your health care deductable as whatever air-fare costs to India, or whatever Carribean island US doctors happen to migrate to.

Jethro's picture

"Dead voters" defined as us drone bait that post here?  Or the more traditional, deep dish, Shitcago style dead (Democrat) voters?

Jethro's picture

Ha!  Its a wonder that the the Obama regime hasn't hacked into the Mormon genealogical database and enrolled everyone's ancestors into Obamacare and registered them all to vote Democrat in the upcoming elections.

Jumbotron's picture

If you like your uncertainty, you can keep your uncertainty.

magnetic_silver_ideas's picture

This is not an isolated incident, it's utterly the norm.

These are the same people that are running the printing presses at 85 billion a month. But they said, "we're not going to print any money".

Everything the government touches turns to dog excrement.

Jethro's picture

Only a matter of time before the Obama regime mandates that if you logged into the website, you bought Obamacare.

magnetic_silver_ideas's picture

With the promise "you get to keep your existing logins if you like them"

silentboom's picture

We have a completely unaccountable, lying, theiving, Orwellian government.....but I guess that would be the case with any large government nevemind the largest in human history.

Keyser's picture

Yes, but administrations in the past put up a better facade and didn't appear to be a bunch of monkeys fucking footballs. 


Meat Hammer's picture

They don't care.  Soon they'll drop any pretense of giving a shit about Americans and tell us to all go fuck ourselves because the damage they wanted to cause is done.  

Valerie Jarret said something about rewarding friends and punishing enemies.  Wait until the friends find out they, too, were enemies all along.  

Dr. Engali's picture

"Such as the deductible sticker shock that is about to be unleashed upon Americans in need of medical aid, especially those who choose the cheaper "bronze" plan"

I can't tell you how many conversations I've had with people who are excited about the low cost bronze plans. They have no clue about the deductable and they are in for a big surprise when they find out that the local hospital here won't accept Zero care. Of course they tune me out when I tell them, they don't like their savior criticized.

RSloane's picture

No one wants the truth when they want the lie to be true. Like little children "thinking makes it so".

Pig Circus's picture

Total Cluster Fuck. Thank you and good day.

Mercury's picture

No way to tell (yet) how many Obamacare subscribers will actually receive the care they think they’re paying for either.

Papasmurf's picture

Doctors have already formed consortiums in geographic regions that decline medicare patients, effectively blocking access to specialty care. Why will Obamacare patients be treated better?

Meat Hammer's picture

Of course there is a way to tell, silly.  Ask Obama.  He wouldn't lie.  I once heard him say that 7 billion jobs were created...that's like 20 jobs per American or something.  Best. President. Ever!

Let me go brush the puke flakes out of my teeth now.

smlbizman's picture

you have to spread those jobs over 57 states to have it make "cents".....

Seasmoke's picture

He told me 4 million homeowners would avoid foreclosure thru his HAMP 

NuYawkFrankie's picture

Re I once heard him (Obumma) say that 7 billion jobs were created...

Hmmm.... that sounds suspiciously like something that Dingbat-from-Hell - Nancy Pelosi - would say..

RSloane's picture

It is all a lie, from the first time the word 'Obamacare' was uttered to the last WH briefing. Its intentions, its efficacy, its enrollment - all lies. If my liberal aquaintances are representative of those people who voted for Obama and thus Obamacare, its supporters are very embarassed and are looking for everyone, everything to blame but themselves. Their seeming repentance is also a lie.

Bay of Pigs's picture

That's because most Obama supporters are too stupid and/or ignorant to know the differenece betweeen something actually working and not working. Therefore, they don't see any conflicting view, or a reason to feel guilty, responsible or repentant.

So how do your political conversations go with them? (or like me, not at all?)

I'm off to Starbucks to ask my local barista how she feels about the FED's latest Beige Book.  :/

RSloane's picture

The conversations tend to be brief primarily because they seem to be going on pure political dogmatic faith and in the end I tell them that I don't belong to that religion.

Let me know what your barista says, probably will be more valuable than what Bernanke says about it.

Bay of Pigs's picture

It's a running joke I have with them....I talk all kinds of ZH financial shit and all I have ever gotten is a "deer in headlights" blank stare.

All we can do is laugh at it friend. And maybe make some plans to visit Maui again too... :)

Meat Hammer's picture

If I may, I'd like to share my debating style, which has proven to be very effective with Obamabots.

My profession is sales and my sales technique is not to tell my prospect what they need, but, instead, to ask them questions, the answers to which will lead them to MY desired destination. The opposite of this technique is called ping-ponging, where they give you an objection and you slap it back at them with an objection to their objection, which is very ineffective, as it is in debating libtards.

What I like to do is ask said libtards additional questions about their statements and then watch them twist in the wind.  For example, if they say, "Obama is the champion of the middle class, as opposed to Republicans who only care about the rich.", I'll respond with, "Can you please explain what Obama has done to slow the inflationary effects of fractional-reserve banking in order to preserve the value of the life savings of elderly, middle-class Americans?"  The debates normally end after one or two questions.

I need to remember to get my camera ready on my phone to take a picture of the blank, oh-shit-I-think-I-might-be-a-fucking-moron stares that ensue after the first question.

Winston Churchill's picture

Nobody ever lost a sale by listening too much.

Meat Hammer's picture

Bingo.  And plenty have talked themselves out of a sale......and have also let a flopping statist (R and D) off the hook by trying to prove he is right instead of asking his opponent to explain his idiocy.

PT's picture

MH:  "Salesmen are liars but if the customer says it then it must be true."  I've never forgotten that lesson but I was still rotten at sales.  Must've been something I got wrong in the implementation.  Also had a good boss tell me the same thing about one of his important customers - "You can never tell him that he's wrong.  You've got to make him think it was his idea all along."  Same sentiment can be found on an early episode of The Flintstones.  Wilma and Betty, one is explaining to the other about her husband - "You have to make him think that it was his idea."

Nice to be reminded again. 

NoDebt's picture

You sound exactly like me on this subject.  So I'll just up-vote and give you the 'ol NoDebt official endorsement seal of approval.

Dr. Engali's picture

Your liberal aquaintances are responding differently than mine. They totally turn out the bad news and act like Zerocare is the greatest thing on God's green earth. It's really surreal to have a conversation with them. Almost like they are on a total different planet.

NoDebt's picture

Are you liberal friends actually ON zero-care?  Or are they just arguing from a theoretical perspective?

I've found that eating one's own cooking is the only real stamp of approval worth paying attention to.

Dr. Engali's picture

I have some who are on it who clearly don't understand what they have, and I have others who are more well to do who will never use Zerocare but support him anyway. The latter are the people who really throw me for a loop.I don't understand them at all.

NuYawkFrankie's picture

To all ObummerCare naysayers -

I can categorically state:

A friend's sister's brother-in-law's 95-year-old aunt claims to know someone in her quilting-bee group that signed-up... she just couldnt remember the name (her own name or that of the purported signer-upper).


HardlyZero's picture

The IRS needs to setup a special team to go out there and assist all the elderly to signup on ACA, and then, of course, to sign over their death wishes and inheritance to the IRS donation pool.  /sarc

1 step away from Soylent Green.   Really.

buzzsaw99's picture

The public will be fucked for a generation even after that POS is repealed.

Winston Churchill's picture

I actually see some good coming from all this.The emerging concierge doctor services are

cutting out the middlemen ,and will bring real price reform at some point.

Not in my lifetime though.Stay healthy.I will be getting on a plane to the UK for my health needs.

Obozocare is going to make the NHS look excellent in comparison.My class 4 stamp costs me

30 pounds per month with no deductable.At least its cheap ,and mediocre ,rather than

assrape, and less than mediocre.

Colonel Walter E Kurtz's picture

I really wish you are correct. I just fear it most likely will be outlawed...or likely regulated out of existence. It is hard to game the system if everyone can figure out the real cost.

Jethro's picture

When Obamacare begins to financially hemmorhage, what do you want to bet that the government will use that as an excuse for a "one time" tax on 401ks and bank accounts?  You know, for the public good.

walküre's picture

They're broke now, they're all broke. Broke and pretending they have "assets" and can afford the status quo. At the end of the day, they cannot afford to run most of government. It's gone so far down the crapper, I don't give a shit anymore. Let them talk and pretend, I'm doing my own thing.