Earlier I blogged about a woman who was searching for a health care insurance option she could afford on the Obamacare exchange and the system automatically enrolled her in Medicaid and wouldn’t let her unenroll.
Here is more information I just spotted about those “automatic” Medicaid enrollments – another part of the website that isn’t working. Seems to me – after 3 1/2 years to get this far – it could take them a decade or more to even begin to figure out how to get basic portions of this working.
And remember – NO ONE has gotten ANY health care yet….
Federal exchange sends unqualified people to Medicaid
The federal health care exchange is incorrectly determining that some people are eligible for Medicaid when they clearly are not, leaving them with little chance to get the subsidized insurance they are entitled to as the Dec. 23 deadline for enrollment approaches.
State and industry officials haven’t quantified the problem yet, but the National Association of State Medicaid Directors may release information next week after following up on reports from around the country, says Executive Director Matt Salo.
Here’s what happens: When consumers applying for insurance put their income information into subsidy calculators on HealthCare.gov — the exchange handling insurance sales for 36 states — it tells them how much financial assistance they qualify for or that they are eligible for Medicaid. If it’s the latter, consumers aren’t able to obtain subsidies toward the insurance, although they could buy full-priced plans.
If the Medicaid determination is wrong, consumers should file an appeal with the federal marketplace, says Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman Joanne Peters, but she says she does not have an estimate on how long that would take.
Brokers are reporting that some of their clients are in insurance limbo as they wait for the error to be corrected by HHS or their states so they can reapply.
Jessica Waltman, top lobbyist for the National Association of Health Underwriters, says she’s heard a number of reports from around the country of people making as much as $80,000 a year being told they qualify for Medicaid on HealthCare.gov.
“I have heard on multiple occasions from brokers in various states over the past eight weeks that they have had wacky Medicaid determinations with people who clearly make way too much money for Medicaid,” she says.
HealthCare.gov is “working smoothly for the vast majority of users,” says Peters, but she noted some people may have technical difficulties or complicated family or tax situations that require extra assistance.
HHS has added more call center employees and in-person assistants for people who need extra help, she says.
But insurance brokers say that when people call the HealthCare.gov “800” number to explain that they can’t possibly be eligible for Medicaid, they are told they are eligible if the site says so.
“It’s a very, very unfortunate state of affairs,” says Waltman.
HHS said it will begin sending Medicaid application files to states this week given that HealthCare.gov’s mechanism to transfer accounts to state Medicaid offices still isn’t working. The data received up until now haven’t given states enough information to determine Medicaid eligibility, says Salo, but he hopes that, as promised, the new files will.
An interested article about the breakdown of the Medicaid Exchange – http://www.pwc.com/us/en/health-industries/publications/health-insurance-exchanges-and-medicaid-expansion.jhtml