WH contests report on website problems

The White House contested a report Tuesday that found that as many as a third of completed applications through the ObamaCare website were incorrectly transmitted to insurers.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said the figure “does not reflect at all” circumstances “that are happening today.”


He said the administration had made “huge improvements” to 834 forms, standardized documents that transmit consumers' personal information and choice of insurance plans. Problems with those forms were at the root of a Washington Post report on Tuesday that concluded the errors could prevent people from receiving the insurance they signed up for.

“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.

He added that the White House is “confident” that all outstanding issues would be resolved so everyone who purchased insurance by Dec. 23 would be covered in the new year.

The report said errors continued to plague the ObamaCare website, including a failure to notify insurers about new customers, incorrect calculations of federal subsidies, and duplicate enrollments.

But Carney implied the report was on issues that occurred before recent technical fixes.

“Some of this reporting about this seems to be a reiteration of the basic assertion, with which we do not disagree, that the website was functioning poorly in October,” Carney said. “But it is functioning much more effectively now, and that includes on the back end with the 834 forms.”

A spokesman for health insurance industry lobbying group America's Health Insurance Plans, however, said that companies had not yet noticed a difference in the error rates.

“Health plans continue to experience significant problems with the ‘834’ enrollment files,” AHIP spokesman Robert Zirkelbach told the Washington Examiner.

The White House spokesman said the task of fixing incorrect data transferred to insurers would be easier because problems with the HealthCare.gov site prevented more people from signing up and being affected by the other problems.

“So the universe of people who might have, in their enrollment, had problems with 834 forms is not particularly large, which is, you know, an outcome of the problems we had with the website,” he said.