Carney: 'Only Around 22,000' Obamacare Subscribers Have Appealed Policy Errors

February 4, 2014 - 7:25 AM

healthcare.gov

One iteration of the Healthcare.gov portal. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - Asked on Monday about a Washington Post report that tens of thousands of people are unable to correct computer-generated errors in their Obamacare policies, White House spokesman Jay Carney said percentage-wise, it's not that many:

"And of the millions who have applied for coverage, it's only around 22,000 (who have) asked for help by filing an appeal, and we are going to get them help. So we are talking here about a very small percentage of the number of people who have applied for coverage."

Carney said many of the people who discovered errors in their policies, premiums or deductibles "are left over from when the website was not working well." He said the website problems encountered by many of these people have now been fixed. And he noted that in many cases, customers have been told to file a new application, rather than wait for a resolution of their appeal.

"So again, it's a portion that's relatively small as a percentage of the number of people who have applied for coverage, and it is being addressed aggressively by CMS. And what we're finding, or what they're finding, rather, is that a lot of the troubles are related to that period of time when the website was malfunctioning, and that a lot of these issues have been fixed or are being fixed."

Carney said the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services "is directly reaching out to individuals from that group whose issues haven't been resolved yet, through email and by phone, to help them resolve those issues."

Over the weekend, the Washington Post reported that roughly 22,000 Americans have filed appeals with the government in an effort to correct mistakes that were made during the Obamacare enrollment process.

"They contend that the computer system for the new federal online marketplace charged them too much for health insurance, steered them into the wrong insurance program, or denied them coverage entirely," the Post reported.

The report said those appeals are now just sitting in a government computer, and people who call the exchange directly are being told that the computer system doesn't allow corrections to be made.

One young woman quoted by the Washington Post said she is paying $100 a month too much for health insurance and her deductible is $4,000 too high.

"The Obama administration has not made public the fact that the appeals system for the online marketplace is not working," the Washington Post said, even though the Democrats' health care law guarantees timely hearings for Americans who appeal.

The Post quoted a CMS spokesman as saying, “We are working to fully implement the appeals system.”