Carrier complaints surface over HealthCare.gov

By BenefitsPro


By Allison Bell

Frustrated consumers aren't the only ones with complaints about HealthCare.gov.

Exchange officials are trying to deal with a whole slew of continuing complaints from carriers about the flawed health care website.

Plan management concerns surface in a large batch of HealthCare.gov "war room" notes posted earlier this week by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Aetna — a major exchange plan provider — tried to get some high-level attention from exchange managers Oct. 4 by sending an e-mail to plan account managers — not the HealthCare.gov helpdesk — listing at least 18 issues that the helpdesk had not addressed.

"One of their complaints was an inability to reach the helpdesk," according to members of the HealthCare.gov team.

The Oversight Committee included the memo containing that comment in a collection of notes created from Oct. 1, when the HealthCare.gov enrollment system opened to the public, through Oct. 29.

Some of the notes in the collection came from a "war room" for the entire Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight — the arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services responsible for overseeing the entire PPACA exchange program and managing the day-to-day operations of 36 HHS-run exchanges.

Other notes came from a war room created especially for the team in charge of "qualified health plans" — the commercial insurance plans that carriers are trying to sell through the exchanges.

The federal exchange carriers have a contract that limits what they can say about exchange activity and exchange problems, according to press reports. Few have given many details about their experiences with the exchange system.

In a summary of the e-mail Aetna sent on Oct. 4, the QHP war room team noted that Aetna, for example, already had tried to get help from the HealthCare.gov helpdesk but wanted account managers to coordinate resolution of their complaints.

Team members reported that they had been forwarding that kind of plan issuer e-mail back to the HealthCare.gov helpdesk, but they decided that they also needed to tell higher level managers — "Sheila and Kirk"— about complaints from companies like Aetna.

The team also decided that two other staffers — "Mike and Alissa" — should help decide how to prioritize QHP issuer complaints.

A few days later, on Oct. 8, managers at Horizon, a large New Jersey carrier, sent in a ticket saying "they saw so many errors that they couldn't even put it all in a ticket."

MetLife reported that it had submitted a ticket for dental plan information errors back in August and still hadn't heard from anyone on the HealthCare.gov team.

The QHP war room team delegated "Doug S" to see if he could help Horizon improve the way it was submitting information, and it had "Lourdes" talk to MetLife.

Another team member, "Dora," talked to MetLife a week later and found there might have been a misunderstanding about how MetLife had submitted dental plan data for some states, including Georgia.

Originally published on BenefitsPro.com