There is still a lot of question about how many people actually enrolled in Obamacare and have paid their first premium. Obama claims 8 million when other sources place the number between 5-6 million and that may even be too high.
Many of the successful enrollees and policy holders received federal subsidies that helped to pay part of the cost of the healthcare insurance. If there was any question about the reported income, enrollees were asked to provide proof of income. Only a few have complied with the request.
However, there was no way to compare actual reported income with the proof of income. It seems that no one bothered to build that into the Obamacare exchange programs. In the meantime, the documentation of income that has been provided is being stored until proper comparisons can be made.
The problem with not having an income verification system in place was known a year ago. Republicans have been after the Obama administration to fix the problem and the White House has promised to do so.
A combination of federal health officials and SERCO are supposedly just now starting to work on the problem. Mind you SERCO is the company that has been employing up to 1,800 people to sit for days and even weeks at their computer screens and do nothing except refresh their screens every 10 minutes, hoping to find an application to process.
According to the reports, SERCO employees will have to make the comparison between the reported incomes and the official IRS files. I wonder how well these employees were screened before SERCO hired them. Those employees will have access to all of the private information of everyone who is receiving a federal subsidy. How trustworthy are these data processors?
When the comparisons are made, some fear that it will be revealed that over 1 million Obamacare enrollees reported inaccurate income figures and received more federal subsidies than they deserved. The Post reviewed about 5.5 million of the Obamacare applications and found that nearly 3 million of them contained at least one inconsistency and income discrepancies appear to be the most frequently made one and are showing up on 1.1 – 1.4 million applications.
Jessica Waltman, Senior Vice President for Government Affairs at the National Association of Health Underwriters commented about the problem, saying:
“I have this sick feeling that there are these people out there who have made unintentional errors, and in a few years will be subject to massive tax bills.”
Judy Solomon, Vice President for Health Policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities added:
“The longer it takes and the more months . . . go by, the more serious the consequences of any error that may have occurred.”
When the records are compared and discrepancies found, the IRS will bill the people for the difference between the subsidy they got and what they were really entitled to. I’m glad I won’t be one of them as I still can’t afford healthcare insurance and the penalty for not being insured is far less than what it would cost me to purchase it.