Covered California

By JUDY LIN
Associated Press
July 1, 2014

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California’s marketplace for buying individual health insurance often failed to verify important personal information and resolve discrepancies in applications, a critical process in determining if people are eligible for taxpayer subsidies, a federal watchdog said Tuesday.

Covered California did not resolve inconsistencies in data, failed to verify citizenship and legal residence, and entered paper applications incorrectly into its system, the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said in a report.

Nationwide, the White House touted that 8 million people signed up in the first open enrollment period under the federal health overhaul. California alone enrolled 1.4 million people in private health plans.

The state’s shortcomings were highlighted in a review of the federal marketplace and the California and Connecticut state exchanges to ensure that accurate information is being submitted for enrollment and tax credits.

“The deficiencies in internal controls that we identified may have limited the marketplaces’ ability to prevent the use of inaccurate or fraudulent information when determining eligibility of applicants for enrollment,” the report said.

The review was requested by congressional Republicans as a condition for ending the budget standoff that partially shut down the government last fall. Republicans said they are concerned that people who are not legally entitled to the government-subsidized private health insurance could nonetheless be getting it.

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