Glitches Leave Many Uncovered

January 6, 2014 AT 11:00 AM

More than 100,000 Americans who applied for insurance through and were told they are eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) remain unenrolled because of lingering software defects in the federal online marketplace, according to federal and state health officials.

To try to provide coverage to these people before they seek medical care, the Obama administration has launched a barrage of phone calls in recent days in 21 states, advising those who applied that the quickest route into the programs is to start over at their state’s Medicaid agency.

State officials, meanwhile, are racing to cope in various ways — some enrolling people based on imperfect data files they received from Washington, others mailing letters urging eligible people to contact the state to sign up.

The chaos is likely to prove temporary because of the state and federal efforts that have just begun to help people enroll and because the coverage can be made retroactive to the first of the year.

Still, the fact that some consumers learned on that they could join the two programs but are not yet in them is creating a problem for states and confusion for the consumers. The situation also offers a glimpse of the technical problems that persist with the computer system underpinning the new federal online insurance marketplace more than a month after the Obama administration announced it had largely been fixed.

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