We have fixed a system error that affected tax credits for some applicants. We apologize & will notify those affected http://bit.ly/1ai1FGL
Washington Healthplanfinder recently uncovered and corrected a system error that has affected 8,000 applicants who previously applied for qualified health plans. This error caused some individuals to qualify for higher than expected tax credit amounts than allowed based on their income level or household size. The issue was caused by inconsistent files being shared between Washington Healthplanfinder and the federal government, which determines eligibility for tax credits. The error was corrected on the night of Oct. 23 and has not affected customers who received tax credit eligibility after that time. This will not affect future customers.
Please note: this issue does not affect individuals who have applied for Washington Apple Health (Medicaid) or those who purchased qualified health plans without tax credits.
In other words, 8000 people in Washington signed up for insurance with the belief they had more subsidies coming to them than what they really do because what the feds sent them was inaccurate.
And, this will be just the beginning of a nightmare. I put an old flow chart at the top, which upon inspection would seem to have little to do with this issue. …… Unless you’re already aware of interoperability problems between large systems.
The little flow chart above was something I actually worked on for a few years. It was the school interoperability framework. What a mess.
The idea is that systems should easily transfer information back and forth to each other. This is usually easily accomplished if you have the same team, using the same tools, developing the programs at the same time, using the same platforms and databases. If not, then it is very difficult.
In the specific case that I was working on, the notion was that a school’s systems should be able to “talk” to each other. For instance, the school lunch program should talk to the attendance program which should talk to the library program and all the other program systems a school employs. Reasonable thought, to be sure.
Without getting too technical, unless there is already a standard set out, which everyone adhered to, the data isn’t free-flowing. There will be errors. Given that the federal system is so crappy, poorly built, and lacking even with already established standards, what are the odds that each states’ systems will be able to freely exchange information to the feds and back?
Now, I understand the coding was done with some open source code, but, that’s only one very small step. Platforms, databases, communication protocols and even how the programmer went about programing all must have a common standard or the information won’t come across properly.
We have what? 17 different exchanges, which all have to have flow of information to untold amount of insurance companies and to the feds and several divisions of the feds and back to the states and several state divisions.
Given the haphazard way the feds did their website, we can count on inaccurate information for a very long time. Those poor 8000 people in Washington are just the tip of the iceberg.
The states that didn’t set up their own exchanges have less layers to deal with than the states who did. You see, it isn’t just a “website”. It’s a huge computer program. Anyone can build a nice website. Making it do something right is the trick. Making it talk to other systems which weren’t designed to the same standards, that’s even trickier. Especially, when the hub application is crap.