For about a quarter of the millions of people that signed up for healthcare coverage under the auspices of the Affordable Care Act, there may be problems on the horizon. There are issues with inconsistent data contained in applications for coverage and subsequent files generated from this information, according to the Chicago Tribune. While there won't be widespread revocations of coverage, the data discrepancies could cause the temporary loss of insurance in some instances. The problem stems from applicants providing information that's more up to date than what federal records show, according to the Tribune. The disparities could also cause premiums to differ from quoted rates, the Associated Press reported.
The federal government believes it will be able to fix the vast majority of data problems over the summer, but some patients may still be exposed to issues with coverage and payment. Some problems are related to lags between personal information being known to an individual, such as immigration status or address, and the information on file with the federal government. Other problems, such as reported income levels, may be related to changes in jobs as well as people under- or over-reporting their wages to try to receive a better subsidy or simply by mistake.
These financial problems could also have an impact on tax returns. Approximately 59 percent of applications are within a 90-day window that makes it easier to update and correct applications, according to the AP. Whether or not affected enrollees are inside this timeframe or not, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a statement saying that applicants simply need to provide additional information and work in good faith with the agency to resolve the issue.
Working around coverage headaches
For hospitals and clinics, dealing with the possibility of people coming in for scheduled treatments or emergencies and finding that they don't have health insurance, despite signing up under the ACA, can drain time and resources. To combat the uncertainty of this situation, healthcare providers can turn to other areas of operation to find efficiencies and save money. Using enhanced healthcare inventory management software such as JumpStock, for example, can create steady savings of money through better compliance with vendor rules and GPOs, while also significantly reducing the time spent on stocking and counting efforts. Better supply chain management can open up financial and labor-related resources to use in other parts of a healthcare system.