California, touted as one of the few bright spots of Obamacare’s rollout, is facing a backlog of 25,000 paper applications as the deadline to apply for coverage on January 1 approaches.
The backlog is the result of a problem with the state’s web portal for insurance agents, which did not begin functioning until November 19, well over a month after the exchange had launched. While insurance agents were waiting for the portal to function, they printed 32-page applications for their clients. Those clients then e-mailed or faxed those applications into the exchange. Many certified enrollment counselors did the same because of technical issues, according to the Contra Costa Times.
Unfortunately, the data on the forms has to be entered online through the exchange in order for insurers to receive notification of enrollment. The insurers can then bill consumers, and payment for coverage beginning on January 1 must be postmarked no later than December 31.
Last week, the exchange recognized the issue the backlog presented and that it would be unable to process all the paper applications on its own; as such, it asked the California Association of Health Underwriters for help.
Neil Crosby, a CAHU spokesman, told the Contra Costa Times that consumers shouldn’t assume that their paper applications have been entered online. He urged them to contact the exchange or their insurance agents to confirm whether or not their application had been accepted.