MADISON (WKOW) -- 52 Wisconsin residents who signed up for insurance through the federal marketplace are about to find out they'll have to try again.
That is due to another problem with the federal agency in charge of the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare.
Officials in the Obama administration have talked at length recently about how the problems with Healthcare.gov have been fixed. While that is mostly true on the front-end, where consumers sign up, insurers say the problems on the back-end are still rampant.
To understand this story, you have to learn a new term, known in the insurance industry as an "834".
"Which are basically file transfers between the insurance companies and HHS," said Dan Schwartzer, Wisconsin Deputy Insurance Commissioner.
HHS is the acronym for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which manages Obamacare.
One of the front-end problems that is still occurring with the Healthcare.gov is that some people are getting signed up for plans with companies that don't cover the county in which they live.
"In other words, the insurer was going to offer coverage based on their zip code, where a zip code may cover multiple counties, that was where the issue ended up on the front-end problem. They bought a plan they weren't able to purchase," explained Schwartzer.
Schwartzer says the insurance companies were addressing that problem on their own until a few weeks ago, when HHS instructed the companies to send those erroneous 834's back to them. The only problem, according to Schwartzer, was that HHS apparently had no system in place to receive and store those files.
"Is it a computer issue? Is it another computer glitch by HHS? We're not sure why," said Schwartzer. "We just know that on a phone call that we had with HHS they admitted that they don't know where those files are or where those 52 people are."
That means not only do those 52 people not have insurance, they are going to have to start the entire application process all over again with only two weeks left in the open enrollment period.
"If these errors were caused by the insurer, we would make the insurer make the consumer whole," said Schwartzer. "Because the errors are occurring on the federal side, we're not able to do that and that's a little frustrating from our perspective."
But the Office of the Insurance Commissioner is at least telling the insurer in this case to alert those 52 people that they should get in touch with HHS as soon as possible.
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