recommended reading

2 Million Obamacare Enrollments Have Data Inconsistencies

MNsure insurance exchange representatives Carlos Villanueva, left, and Emily Joyce prepare for the Oct. 1 open enrollment debut at the center in St. Paul, Minn.

MNsure insurance exchange representatives Carlos Villanueva, left, and Emily Joyce prepare for the Oct. 1 open enrollment debut at the center in St. Paul, Minn. // Jim Mone/AP File Photo

According to government documents obtained by the Associated Press, the accounts of more than 2 million people who signed up for Obamacare have "data discrepancies," some of which could affect their subsidy eligibility. The discrepancies include "important details on income, citizenship and immigration status," according to the AP. The biggest concern is that some people may have received too high a subsidy, meaning they'd be asked to repay the excess or lose their coverage.

Obama administration officials said they believed most of the inconsistencies will be cleared up over the summer, but said they'd developed a system to "turn off" benefits for people who aren't eligible. "The fact that a consumer has an inconsistency on their application does not mean there is a problem on their enrollment," Julie Bataille, the Department of Health and Human Services' spokeswoman said. "Most of the time what that means is that there is more up-to-date information that they need to provide to us."

There are at least two possible reasons why the data would have inconsistencies. One, people lied about their income, citizenship or immigration status. Last year the administration announced that it was scaling back its verification process until 2015, when a stronger system would be set up. Congressional committees are looking into the discrepancies.

Two, as Bataille said, people need to provide updated information. But that reveals a flaw in the subsidy system — as a person's income level rises and falls throughout the year, their subsidy allocation will vary. This is especially a problem for the self-employed, who make up a large part of the exchanges and have to estimate their incomes. As Katie Vlietstra, vice president for government relations at the National Association for the Self-Employed, told Bloomberg in January, “the challenge with this calculation is that if your income changes throughout the year, you are required to reimburse the government any subsidies you received, most likely in your 2014 taxes.” According to Bloomberg those repayments will be capped at $300 to $2,500, depending on income.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.