Saturday, April 21, 2018
Health

1 in 4 got an error on insurance site HealthCare.gov in October

WASHINGTON — Obama administration officials announced Friday that the enrollment records for an estimated one in four Americans who chose health plans through the online federal marketplace in October contained computer-generated errors that complicated their ability to finish buying coverage. Officials said that such errors have now become less common.

Currently, the website, HealthCare.gov, is making mistakes in the records of an estimated one in 10 people signing up for a health plan, according to Julie Bataille, director of communications for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency that oversees the federal health-insurance exchange.

Bataille emphasized that the 25 percent error rate for October — the exchange's problem-ridden first month — and the smaller current number are preliminary, drawn from a sample of enrollments. She said that more precise numbers will not be available until the CMS and insurers finish cross-checking enrollment lists to make sure that health plans know who has signed up for coverage.

Flawed enrollment records have been a major concern to insurers selling health plans through the federal health exchange — and it has important implications for consumers. The records, known as 834 forms, are supposed to be sent early every evening from the federal online system to each participating health plan to notify them of who their new customers are. From there, insurers send each customer a bill. After that, consumers must pay the first month's insurance premium before their coverage begins.

The preliminary 25 percent error rate for October, announced by Bataille in a phone call with reporters, is out of about 27,000 people who signed up in the month after the health exchange opened on Oct. 1.

Insurers are now working with CMS to try to resolve a variety of errors that have plagued the enrollment records. In some instances, the system was not sending insurers records of people who had enrolled. Other errors have included duplicative enrollment and cancellation notices for the same person, incorrect information about family members and mistakes involving federal subsidies.

Once the online system is working more fully, it will include an automated way — called "reconciliation" — for the government and participating health plans to compare their lists of who has signed up. That process is supposed to start the middle of this month, but the required part of the system is not yet built.

Comments
Do not eat any romaine lettuce, the CDC warns

Do not eat any romaine lettuce, the CDC warns

Public health officials are now telling consumers to avoid all types of romaine lettuce because of an E. coli outbreak linked to the vegetable that has spread to at least 16 states and sickened at least 60 people, including eight inmates at an Alask...
Published: 04/20/18
Florida hits a milestone: More than 100,000 people are registered to use medical marijuana here

Florida hits a milestone: More than 100,000 people are registered to use medical marijuana here

Florida has hit a milestone of sorts as it slowly moves toward wider availability of medical marijuana.The number of patients in the state who are registered to use the substance has surpassed 100,000 for the first time, according to Florida Departme...
Published: 04/20/18
Florida Hospital Carrollwood spending $17.5 million to expand emergency department

Florida Hospital Carrollwood spending $17.5 million to expand emergency department

Florida Hospital Carrollwood is expanding its emergency department. The hospital, 7171 North Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa, is spending $17.5 million to add 15 new private treatment rooms, new pediatric rooms and waiting areas, and new technology, acco...
Published: 04/18/18
Barbara Bush’s end-of-life decision stirs debate over ‘comfort care’

Barbara Bush’s end-of-life decision stirs debate over ‘comfort care’

As she nears death at age 92, former first lady Barbara Bush’s announcement that she is seeking "comfort care" is shining a light — and stirring debate — on what it means to stop trying to fight terminal illness.Bush, the wife of former President Geo...
Published: 04/17/18
Preparing for the worst, staffers at Johns Hopkins All Children’s learn through simulation

Preparing for the worst, staffers at Johns Hopkins All Children’s learn through simulation

When the patient got violent, Dr. Michelle Hidalgo didn’t have time to think. She had to react. The woman was moving strangely and seemed erratic. Hidalgo had to make a tough call — it was time to physically restrain her for everyone’s safety.Then th...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Lung cancer patients live longer with immune therapy

The odds of survival can greatly improve for people with the most common type of lung cancer if, along with the usual chemotherapy, they are also given a drug that activates the immune system, a major new study has shown.The findings should change me...
Published: 04/16/18
Thousands of pounds of prepackaged salad mixes may have been tainted with E. coli, officials say

Thousands of pounds of prepackaged salad mixes may have been tainted with E. coli, officials say

A Pennsylvania food manufacturer is recalling 8, 757 pounds of ready-to-eat salad products following an E. coli outbreak that has spread to several states and sickened dozens of people.Fresh food Manufacturing Co., based in Freedom, Pennsylvania, is ...
Published: 04/15/18
St. Anthony’s Cancer Center installs bell dedicated to survivors

St. Anthony’s Cancer Center installs bell dedicated to survivors

ST. PETERSBURGSister Mary McNally, vice president of mission at St. Anthony’s Hospital, stood in front of a room of cancer survivors to unveil a silver bell surrounded by butterfly stickers mounted to the wall of the Cancer Center lobby. "So often pe...
Published: 04/13/18
Hand dryers could leave your hands dirtier than you think

Hand dryers could leave your hands dirtier than you think

Washing your hands after you use the bathroom is a good idea. But using a public dryer could undo all that hard work, according to a new study.A study, published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, examined 36 men’s and women’s bat...
Published: 04/13/18
Meek and Mighty Triathlon draws the young (siblings who are 7, 9 and 11) and not so young

Meek and Mighty Triathlon draws the young (siblings who are 7, 9 and 11) and not so young

The annual St. Anthony’s Triathlon has for years attracted elite athletes from around the world, making the St. Petersburg race one of the premier triathlon events in the country. There’s a big incentive to run fast, swim hard and be the best on a bi...
Published: 04/13/18