By Elise Viebeck - 12/06/13 03:19 PM EST
HealthCare.gov botched as many as one in four enrollment transmissions to insurance companies in the months of October and November, a top ObamaCare official said Friday.
The disclosure from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) came after weeks of pressure from journalists and reflects the first officially released error rate for so-called 834 forms.
"We need to have these conversations at a very individualized level with plans directly so that we can reconcile our records ... and identify any consumers that fall into this category," said CMS spokeswoman Julie Bataille.
The error rate means that the administration has about 6,700 enrollments to re-check with insurance companies from the month of October alone, when about 26,800 people enrolled in private plans through HealthCare.gov.
Now, the CMS said only about one in 10 forms generated by the site contains flaws, a marked improvement that nonetheless means thousands of enrollments to confirm with insurers.
This process represents the next hurdle for the CMS as it seeks to ensure that every recent applicant at HealthCare.gov can use their coverage starting next year.
Without a fully functioning 834 system, policyholders will encounter problems, creating another firestorm for the administration.
And the pace of enrollment is only picking up, placing additional pressure on officials to further lower the error rate. Consumers have just over two weeks to enroll in plans that begin Jan. 1, a period that could see hundreds of thousands of sign-ups.
Bataille did not directly recommend that consumers confirm their registrations with insurance companies, but suggested that this would happen naturally as applicants pay their first premiums — the final step in getting covered.
She said the error rate took weeks to compile because of "complexities" within the system, and said her figures were "preliminary and not final."