California’s health insurance exchange is still sluggish when it comes to resolving customer service problems, leaving many people unable to access health care or finalize their tax returns, a consumer advocacy group said Thursday.
Covered California has been slow to fix enrollment mistakes entered into its computer system, according to the Health Consumer Alliance, which is made up of legal aid groups throughout the state.
The alliance also claims Covered California has failed to correct tax subsidy forms in a timely manner, preventing people from getting tax credits or amending their taxes. For example, advocates said a woman from the Inland Empire has not been able to correct her tax subsidy form since Jan. 28.
“We are concerned that public support for the (Affordable Care Act) will erode as more and more consumers encounter these types of tax problems and face exposure to IRS debts and penalties,” the group wrote in a letter to exchange board members this week.
Covered California said it is looking to troubleshoot information technology problems so staff can make changes directly rather than having to file help desk tickets that can take weeks to resolve. Accenture won a $359 million contract in 2012 to build and maintain the state’s online platform for health insurance programs called the California Healthcare Eligibility, Enrollment, and Retention System, or CalHEERS.
Jen Flory of the Western Center on Law and Poverty, a member of the alliance, said she was pleased to hear the exchange set a goal of mid-September to resolve tax forms but worried two years remains too long for some CalHEERS system fixes.
“We do want to work with staff to get some timelines to make sure these people that are waiting to get into plans actually have access to care,” Flory said.