The federal public exchange team has to clear technical obstacles to processing paper applications before it can make paper a reliable alternative to the Web-based enrollment effort.
Members of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act exchange program "war room" team at the Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight talked about paper application processing in a batch of confidential notes posted Tuesday by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
The latest batch covers a period from Oct. 1 — the day the PPACA exchange plan open-enrollment period began — through Oct. 29.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the parent of CCIIO, has released little information about the nature of the challenges facing the exchange program's HealthCare.gov enrollment effort.
Members of the war room team reported Oct. 16 that Serco, a paper application processing vendor, had 1,800 employees on board and would have 3,800 employees on board by December.
On Oct. 29, the team said Serco had received 1,400 paper applications that needed to be digitized; had processed 4,000 paper applications; and were holding 6,000 applications in a queue due to missing information.
Serco also had received a total of 1,600 small-group applications.
Serco was processing the applications efficiently, but system problems beyond its control were leading to delays, the war room team said.
The war room team noted that demand for small-group coverage is so strong that some employers found the employee coverage application by going into an obscure paperwork review system.
In other war room notes:
- The team said Oct. 25 that many agents and brokers who wanted to work with the exchange program were having trouble getting into their accounts. The team was hoping information services workers would fix agent-broker identity management technical problems over the weekend.
- The team raised the question that, once CCIIO gets HealthCare.gov technical problems under control, news organizations might notice that would-be exchange users in some communities have few affordable, attractive coverage options. "If [plan management] hasn't started thinking about this, it should," the team said. "We are 2 - 3 weeks away from this period when the spotlight will back to [plan management] regarding plan selection."
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