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ObamaCare Clusterfuck: 10% of ObamaCare Federal enrollments could contain coverage-preventing errors


An estimated 10 percent of all enrollments now being made on the federal Obamacare marketplace contain data errors that could delay people from actually getting health coverage, officials disclosed Friday.

And that error rate for enrollments submitted via and then sent to insurers before December was an estimated 25 percent, officials revealed.

The rate fell in the past week, officials said, because of repair efforts to's, particular the discovery and fix of one particular software problem that was causing an estimated 80 percent of data errors, officials said.*

But both past and present error rates are much higher than 1 percent, the rate which insurers considered to be unacceptable when doing business outside the Obamacare exchanges. And they are raising serious questions about whether significant numbers of people will actually be without insurance Jan. 1 despite believing they have enrolled.

So, you roll up to the hospital in your ambulance thinking you're covered, and what then? Don't worry, we'll straighten out the paperwork later? Why don't I think this will work?

The thing that boggles my mind (and I'm not easily boggled at this point) is that they launched this monstrosity without end-to-end testing, thereby treating all the intitial enrollees as unwitting test subjects. Fine, I suppose, if you're launching an iPhone app for goateed hipsters, but not when you're messing around with people's health. And remember, a staggering 25% of the early adopters -- almost by definition those who need insurance the most, so the very sickest and the most in need -- are most at risk for seeking care thinking they're covered, and finding they're not. It's exactly the most vulnerable that the ObamaCare launch is, with laser-like precision, harming. Just like HAMP.

I'm beginning to think it makes sense to advocate for sending ObamaCare into a death spiral because these people simply do not give a shit. They're not to be trusted with our health, or anyone's health.

NOTE * So that was the easy one. Remember also, these are 834 errors; they were the #1 priority for Zeintz and his genius tech team, and they still haven't met their goal, despite -- and I know this will surprise you -- the victory declaration on November 1 for site problems.

UPDATE And lest we think 10% is an acceptable error rate, it isn't. 10 errors in 99 words. Now imagine megabytes of this stuff:

Quick zephyrs blow, vexing FUCKED Jim. Sphinx of FUCKED quartz, judge my vow. The five FUCKED wizards jump quickly. Pack my box with five FUCKED liquor jugs. The quick FUCKED fox jumps over the lazy dog. Jinxed wizards pluck ivy from the FUCKED quilt. FUCKED Fredrick bought many very exquisite opal jewels. We promptly judged antique FUCKED buckles for the next prize. A mad boxer shot a quick, gloved jab to the jaw of his FUCKED opponent. Jaded zombies acted quaintly but kept driving their oxen forward. The job requires extra pluck and zeal from every FUCKED wage earner.

And the errors in 834s are probably a lot more subtle.

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quixote's picture
Submitted by quixote on

Plus, those error estimates (25% earlier, 10% now) are coming from the Administration. How much do you want to bet they're using creative accounting?

I'm seeing something like, "Oh, minor typos aren't really mistakes. MN is almost the same as MA. What's the big deal?"

Submitted by lambert on

I think what they have is keys with values (like "{state:MN}") that are context dependent. And that the 834 schema, which would determine contextually permissible key/value pairs (this I am sure of) is new and not properly tested. So they're in the very very bad position of having bad outputs and not knowing whether it's the schema, the data, or the algorithm. This will be all the more fun as others have doubtless built to the schema.

Pass the popcorn.

Submitted by weldon on

Medicaid administrators out in the states say that the files they get for new Medicaid signups through the exchange have the same problems as the files going to insurers, which means that some unknown number of people who think they now have Medicaid, actually don't.

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, said Matt Salo, executive director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors. The data transfer problem is occurring in the 36 states where the federal site is deployed, regardless of whether they chose to expand Medicaid.

"Essentially, if you're a consumer on, 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," said Salo, who leads the nonpartisan membership group for state Medicaid chiefs.

Submitted by lambert on

I thought Sibelius said "the hub" was all ready, back in July or something. Guess not!

Submitted by weldon on

I keep thinking there's no way this is as screwed up as it seems, and then more stuff pops up. Most of the administration's supporters seem to think everything is close to being back on track, but I don't see any way at all that everyone who needs to be insured on January 1 will actually be insured. January is going to be a very shrill month.

On a different subject, I wonder how it is HHS can tell us that 30,000 people enrolled on Sunday and Monday but not how many people enrolled in November.

blues's picture
Submitted by blues on

What I love about all the depravity is the sheer depth of it. Yeah I worry about all the dead fish that are about to wash up on the shore. But they came up from a depth that surpasses the most sublime mental boggling. This goes way deeper than just a botched website. It's now obvious that G. W. Bush wasn't a dummy after all. He was a very smart wacko. Obama is simply competing to be a bit wackier. Just consider this stunning little fact:

Consider President Obama's long form Birth Certificate — which came straight from the White House website. Was it an image file, like what any normal person would post? Oh no! It was a PDF file, wasn't it? Yup. And I watched about 100 YouTubes of PDF experts remove layer after layer, proving it was merely an all-pasted-together kludge. The handwriting was inconsistent and obviously forged. It even contained words that were not appropriate at the time of his supposed birth. So um, the White House just can't afford to manufacture a fake image of a birth certificate. Yeah that must be the answer.

Here's a far more credible theory: Obama was born in a test tube in Fort Dietrich, Maryland. He's a mind-controlled bot who's been smoking PCP during his entire life. He's been compulsively playing mindgames since the day he crawled out of the tube. But maybe you have a better theory that involves reptilian space aliens.

Time to consult David Icke.

Submitted by hipparchia on

I'm beginning to think it makes sense to advocate for sending ObamaCare into a death spiral

this is the only way i see of getting rid of, or at least marginalizing, the bloodsucking insurance industry.

Submitted by lambert on

... you should send ObamaCare into a Death Spiral."

But for real?! Both of you agree on this, so maybe I'm being too small-c conservative. I am really not a worse is better type of guy, and it's undeniable that Obama will help some.

So it seems to me that the death spiral argument is really arguing to throw people under the bus who bought into the program (and I know how it feels to be thrown under the bus).

On the other hand, maybe this is just me being stupid about insurance. After all, they're covered, and so the death spiral doesn't really affect them. Yes? No?

Submitted by hipparchia on

narrow networks, which will make it harder to get care if you get expensively sick, and now narrow drug formularies, which will make it harder to get care if you get expensively sick:

the new insurance, and the expanded medicaid, will help young healthy people who might fall out of a tree and break a leg, and will probably help young healthy women with both contraceptives and (uncomplicated) pregnancy and childbirth. you're probably out of luck if you're that one-in-a-million 20-something who develops leukemia or whose baby is born with one of those rare genetic issues that require expensive life-long care.

Submitted by Dromaius on

Whether we want it or not, I predict it's going to happen -- starting next year. The kids aren't signing up.....

Submitted by lambert on

The arguments I'm seeing for "Not to worry" are:

1) In MA and in Medicare Advantage, people signed up at the last minute

2) the Obama administration really knows how to sell to young people.

I guess the headline would be more like, "Why you should push ObamaCare into its death spiral sooner, rather than later."

Submitted by Dromaius on

After a great deal of soul searching today, we decided that the Obamacare balloon in premiums have lead us to hit the straw that broke the camel's back on insurance.

Premiums for the two of us will be $13,500 for plans with $6000 total in deductibles before we see a dime of care (That's a silver plan). A bronze plan will be $10,800 and $10,000 deductible, a bit more expensive. We figure that in two years, with $40,000 we can cover a pretty significant illness. If not, we'll file bankruptcy if we have to.

We are opting out of insurance. We aren't young invicibles, but we're old and barely use our insurance. So we're two people who pay high premiums and barely cost the insure-co's anything. We won't be paying into the system anymore. We're worth about 4 young invincibles in premiums.

Submitted by lambert on

So it would work out that way. (Those figures are net after subsidy, right?)

Michael Olenick over at NC found a private plan that was more to his liking, that is, he could fucking afford it. But he is IIRC in his mid-30s.

Ugh. I hate it that this system puts people in your position (and my position).

Submitted by Dromaius on

It's complicated, but we'll say we're outside of subsidy eligibility. Systems via our small business can be worked out so that it's possible that I could be inside of subsidy eligibility. However, subsidies means two things:

1. Riding the subsidy roller coaster.
2. Buying an Exchange plan, which narrows the networks so that the kind of coverage we need (for serious illnesses) isn't going to be had anyway, since none of the plans inside the Exchange cover specialty or research hospitals.

So we're basing our consideration on plans outside of the Exchange, and thus NOT subsidy eligible.

But yeah, we're done. We've had it. It feels good to give up.

Submitted by lambert on

"We're worth about 4 young invincibles in premiums."

I would have sworn it was 4:1. Oh well.

I'm paying the $95. I've been going naked since 2006. I can spend the money that would go for premiums getting to a better place, or spend the money on premiums and stay where it's untenable. So,

Submitted by Dromaius on

The penalty is $95 or 1% of income (less the filing threshold of about $10,000), whichever number is GREATER. Just in case you didn't know....

Submitted by lambert on

I was writing in shorthand, but as you point out, the shorthand is deceptive. I've got around 40 tabs open, and "Winter is coming," so I seem to be dropping a lot of stitches lately....

Submitted by hipparchia on

I'm paying the $95.

that was my plan too, but my parents are going to worry themselves sick if i go any longer without health insurance. so now i'm mulling over other possible forms of subversion.