By Justin Sink - 12/06/13 11:08 AM EST
Preliminary estimates suggest that one in 10 enrollment forms being generated by the ObamaCare website have incorrect or corrupted data, an administration official told the New Republic in a story published Friday.
The official characterized that error rate as a substantial improvement from October, when around a quarter of enrollment forms had problems. And, the administration official said, the outstanding issues are fixable and being addressed.
Insurance companies have voiced concern that despite the administration's declaration that the website is working for the vast majority of users, back-end issues are creating bureaucratic headaches and preventing consumers' personal information from being correctly transmitted.
In cases where the 834 forms are corrupted, insurers need to go back and contact customers directly to confirm personal information and their plan selection — a potentially massive undertaking.
In instances where information is never transmitted at all, consumers could discover that despite believing they had purchased coverage, their insurance companies have never heard of them.
The White House has insisted that technical problems with the forms are largely resolved.
Earlier this week, press secretary Jay Carney said that "huge improvements" had been made to address the issue and that the administration was "confident" that everyone who purchased insurance by Dec. 23 would be covered in 2014.
“The contractor and the issuers are working together and will make sure that every 834 form, both past and present, October 1st forward, is accurate,” Carney said.
The administration official speaking to The New Republic said that the majority of errors were instances in which forms included some bad data but still arrived with companies. That means fewer individuals are falling through the cracks.
Until now, the administration has refused to quantify the error rate in 834 forms, leading to tense exchanges in daily briefings with journalists.
But officials insisted to the magazine that was because they lacked the analytical tools to measure the error rate — and that it not a deliberate attempt to hide problems with the website.
Earlier this week, there were signs that the government and insurance companies were nearing a resolution of the issue. The Obama administration and a pair of trade groups representing the insurance industry issued a joint statement saying that they are "working together closely to resolve back-end issues between health plans and healthcare.gov."
“Ensuring that all Americans who need coverage are properly enrolled is a top priority for all of us," the statement said.