Many of those who enrolled for health care covers on the Covered California exchange received flawed letters of eligibility due to a computer error.
The letters sent from 22nd November to 7th of December had blank spaces and missing information on the eligibility of the person for insurance or federal subsidy.
"The letters would say you are eligible for Covered California, but you are ineligible for blank," said exchange spokeswoman Anne Gonzales. "It seemed to contradict whether the enrollee was eligible. It was confusing to people."
Ben Amante of Costa Mesa received one of the letters and could not understand what it meant, "One short paragraph said you're qualified and the next one says you're not qualified," Amante said. "Insurance companies are looking a lot better now after dealing with Covered California."
Gonzales said that the technical issues with the computer-generated letters had been fixed, and new letters were being sent to all the affected households. She requested people to check their letters and check their account summary on the coveredca.com website.
The inaccurate letters increased calls to the state's three service centers, which were already fighting to handle the high volume of calls.
Consumers who wanted coverage that started from 1st Jan needed to enroll by Monday. The deadline for the first premium payment had been extended to Jan. 6.
To accommodate as many applicants as possible, the exchange's service centers would be open on Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
"We are definitely seeing a surge in interest," Gonzales said. "We are processing thousands of applications per day."
Open enrollment as part of the Affordable Care Act would continue through March 31. Covered California said it had enrolled more than 156,000 people in private health plans through Dec. 7 and thousands more had started the application process.
Hannah Punitha (IRDA Licence Number: 2710062)
Chad Terhune, December 2013