Obama administration officials reported progress Monday in fixing problems with electronic submissions between the federal HealthCare.gov insurance marketplace and insurance companies. They also claimed consumers' ability to complete enrollment applications has improved.
The transmissions, known as the Accredited Standards Committee X12 834 standard, or 834s for short, tell insurers which people chose their plans and whether they are eligible for federal premium subsidies under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
. They contain sensitive personal information like Social Security numbers.
Insurers had noted errors in the information they were receiving. After “significant fixes” over the weekend, insurers should now see the appropriate date and time a person signed up for coverage, the correct code for the health plan the consumer applied for, and the consumer's contact information, said Julie Bataille, the CMS communications director.
She also said software bugs affecting a person's ability to save and continue paused applications also have been repaired.
Bataille said there was still some information in the forms that is coming to payers incorrectly, but she did not provide details. She insisted that fixing 834 errors would continue to be a top priority and that the CMS is working with insurers to resolve the kinks.
Insurers participating in the federal exchange are taking a wait-and-see attitude toward CMS' fixes. A spokeswoman for the Health Care Service Corp., a Blue Cross and Blue Shield
company serving several states, said it was too soon to comment on any improvements.
Another senior insurance source who did not want to be identified noted that while the CMS has “said they have made those fixes, I don't think plans have gotten the files yet to know how well they are now working.” The source added that complete forms are sent to insurance companies at 6 p.m. each day.