With Covered California’s upgrade to their enrollment software on October 13th they have inadvertently locked people out of purchasing a health plan for the remainder of 2014. Individuals and families who completed the application and were set to purchase a health plan for a November 1st effective date were greeted with Error Code: 000. Covered California says they are feverishly working to correct the error but as of October 16th they did not have an estimated date for a correction to the problem.
December 12, 2014: Error Code 224 stymies plan changes
Renewal upgrade causes more problems
The upgrade to the Covered California CalHEERS online enrollment system was only supposed to disable the Report a Change function for current members. (See: Covered California baby blackout) Until the second part of the software upgrade on November 3rd, current consumers with Covered California health plans can’t make any changes to their accounts such as a change of income, address or adding a family member like a new born baby or adoption. Covered California is switching over to renewal mode for the upcoming 2015 open enrollment period.
As of November 7th, agents are reporting a new problem: Error 81HR00M8. This is occurring during eligibility calculation when a renewal is submitted in the CalHEERS program. It is uncertain which specific combination of changes to the application is causing the new error code as some renewals are being processed with no problems. The following discussion of Error Code:000 has been allegedly fix by Covered California.
Error Code: 000
However, something in the software is also preventing new enrollments from selecting a health plan. My experience was that I was enrolling a client for a November 1st effective date. The Covered California system seemed to accept the application, it was submitted, and the Advance Premium Tax Credit calculated. After we had selected a health plan and went to confirm the purchase, I was greeted with the Error Code: 000. My biggest concern was that my client’s group coverage ends on October 31st and we need the new plan to become effective November 1st.
Wait and see mode
The Covered California call center representative assured me that even though we were not permitted to enroll in a private health plan, because we had enrolled by the 15th, when they resolve the issue, the client’s health plan will be effective November 1st. At this point, all we can do is wait for the enrollment system software to be fixed. What should have been a smooth transaction has turned into another Covered California test of patience.
Covered California admits error to agents
In a webinar to agents on October 22nd, Covered California admitted they had a problem with new enrollments for 2014 health plans.
Fix in Progress:
To mitigate the problem the database servers are being rebooted every few hours to clear the connections. The root cause is being triaged and a fix expected to be identified, coded, tested and will be deployed as soon as possible.
Let me translate the geek speak, “We don’t have a clue what is going on or how to fix it.” The worst part is that they don’t even let people know on the website that the enrollment function is down.
PIN and E-Signature problems
On a sales seminar presented by Covered California on October 22, they mentioned a problem consumers were having with changing PINs and getting the system to recognize the change. They discussed the solution in the slide to the titled Covered California Online Application Alternate Procedure.
October 31, Covered California Update
An email was sent out to agents indicating that Covered California had resolved the nearly two week black out on new enrollments by fixing numerous errors in the software.
Important Notice: Covered California Online Application, ‘000’ Error Updates
As you know, Covered California has begun the process of renewing policies for the first wave of 1.1 million individuals who purchased health coverage through Covered California last open enrollment. We are pleased we had an early start on renewal, as it is allowing us to tackle issues that arise well before open enrollment begins on November 15, 2014.
You may also be aware that our Covered California online application system generated an error message in many instances when 1) submitting a new application with a qualifying life event or 2) processing a renewal. The error has been resolved and the renewal process should be much smoother. We have confirmed with the Agent Service Center and the CEC/PBE Help Desk that they have not received any calls indicating the error. Please continue to help consumers renew their health care coverage and complete special enrollment applications.
Consumers with qualifying life events who attempted to submit a new application for an effective date of November 1, 2014 will now have a grace period of seven days until Friday, November 7, 2014 to complete the application for a coverage effective date of November 1, 2014. CIAs, CECs and PBEs who provided enrollment assistance for these consumers may call to request a November 1 effectuation date on their behalf.