Tens of thousands have filed appeals to the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) regarding coverage errors pertaining to HealthCare.gov to no avail.
According to the Washington Post, an estimated 22,000 Americans are stuck in Obamacare limbo, helplessly awaiting their appeals to be amended. Problems reported from the faulty website include incorrect calculations of eligible subsidies, wrong program placement, and even completely denied coverage. Months after the October 1 launch of HealthCare.gov, at least 22,000 Americans have had their appeals untouched.
How do 22,000 appeals remain unanswered? Essentially, HealthCare.gov was launched without a functioning appeals process in place; maybe the creators thought the site would be glitch free during its implementation. If HealthCare.gov was opened to the public with many of its software issues ironed out, there would ideally be three ways in which appeals could be filed: through the website itself, by phone, or my mail. Unfortunately for those 22,000 Americans, only the mail process is available while the website and phone systems are awaiting launch.
According to Healthcare.gov, to file an appeal, you must fill out a form, mail it, and wait to hear back. Those who filled out the seven-page form in hopes of having their errors corrected will continue to wait. An unnamed source told the Post that the mail appeal process scans the seven-page form into a computer system at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), but the computer program responsible for processing those appeals does not yet exist. 22,000 Americans in need of health insurance are essentially powerless as their appeals sit untouched and unread in a computer data base.
With the myriad of problems facing HealthCare.gov since its launch and the administration’s recent change of lead contractor from CGI to Accenture, those 22,000 appeals must be rectified. CMS spokesman Aaron Albright said, “We are working fully to implement the appeals system,” but declined to say when the computer program to process appeals is expected to be finished.
The fact that HealthCare.gov was released with no appeals process ready to handle the demands of the enrollees is just another example of the futility of the online marketplace. The same government that forces people to sign up for Obamacare cannot fix the errors that accompany it, while 22,000 Americans are left stuck in an unfinished appeals process.