October 24, 2013
Julia Lawless (Hatch), (202) 224-4515
Jill Gerber (Grassley), (202) 224-6522
Hatch, Grassley Seek Enrollment Data from Key Health Insurance Companies
WASHINGTON – Sen Orrin Hatch of Utah and Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa are seeking enrollment data from four key health insurance companies participating in the President’s health care program amid news reports of technical problems inhibiting accurate, successful enrollment.
“As we learned from a House hearing today, insurance companies are getting inaccurate and unreliable information about those trying to sign up for insurance through HealthCare.gov,” said Hatch. “Since the Obama Administration won’t say how many people have enrolled, we have no choice but to get this information from the insurance companies themselves. And, if the data the insurance companies is receiving is corrupt then we need to find out what needs to be done to fix this serious problem.”
“News reports show extensive frustration signing up online for health care,” Grassley said. “Now we’re seeing reports of bad data going to insurance companies when people do manage to register themselves. Is the bad data the reason the Administration is being so vague about how many people have signed up? We want to hear from key insurance companies to find out what problems they’re facing.”
Grassley and Hatch wrote to the four companies participating in the Washington, D.C., health care exchange. The companies are Aetna, UnitedHealth Group, Kaiser Permanente, and CareFirst. The Washington, D.C., exchange has four major plans and so provides a snapshot of how Americans fare in trying to join the new exchanges.
Grassley and Hatch said news reports show problems with what are called “834 forms” that contain individual information that insurers use to enroll the individual in a health care plan. Inaccurate or corrupted data would interfere with successful enrollment. That has implications for when the Administration should enforce the individual mandate requiring enrollment. It would be unfair to penalize people for not having health insurance when technical problems have impeded their enrollment, Grassley and Hatch said.
Separately today, the senators are writing to each of the contractors that played a role in creating healthcare.gov, seeking contract and cost data. The website cost hundreds of millions of dollars, yet doesn’t work.
The text of the senators’ letter to each of the four insurance companies participating in the Washington, D.C., exchange is identical.
Hatch is ranking member of the Finance Committee, with jurisdiction over much of the new health care program. Grassley is a senior member and former chairman and ranking member of the committee.