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Bug Government Software United States

About 25% of Applications Have Errors 157

Posted by timothy
from the depends-how-serious-they-are dept.
itwbennett writes "An estimated one in four user applications sent from to insurance providers have errors introduced by the website, an official with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said during a press briefing Friday. The errors include missing forms, duplicate forms and incorrect information in the applications, such as wrong information about an applicant's marital status, said Julie Bataille, communications director for HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). While the software bugs leading to the errors have largely been fixed, as many as 10 percent of insurance applications may still have errors and consumers who have used to buy insurance and have concerns that their applications haven't been processed or have errors should contact their insurers, Bataille said."
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About 25% of Applications Have Errors

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  • Data In, Garbage Out (Score:5, Informative)

    by davide marney (231845) <{gro.aidemten} {ta} {yenram.edivad}> on Saturday December 07, 2013 @07:45AM (#45625741) Journal

    By this point, I think people generally understand that is to be avoided if at all possible. This system of systems is a monster (reportedly 500 million lines of code at 60-70% completion), and it's probably too big to test -- testing might take longer than it took to write, i.e., the QA death spiral.

    The only reason to use the exchange is to get a subsidy. If you are a normal taxpayer who won't qualify for one, go off-exchange.

    Or, join a religious health care pool, which are medical cost-sharing plans that are exempt from the law.

  • Re: Human error (Score:5, Informative)

    by sumdumass (711423) on Saturday December 07, 2013 @07:53AM (#45625757) Journal

    An estimated one in four user applications sent from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' to insurance providers have errors introduced by the website,

    Introduced by the website seems to imply they are because of the website. Both the article and summery say that.

    Now from what I have been told, you don't fill out specific forms. You enter specific information into the website and it fills the forms out for you based on the plans you pick. It is supposed to stop you from filling forms out incorrectly or getting confused on wording and so on. It also allows you to do direct comparisons without having to fill 20 forms out for 10 different providers offering 2 plans each.

  • Re:Compared to what? (Score:4, Informative)

    by swb (14022) on Saturday December 07, 2013 @08:35AM (#45625861)

    I've only had to fill out paper health care forms a couple of times, but it's really easy to see how those confusing monsters can be filled out erroneously by the form filler, and then of course there are the transcription problems when forms get computer entered, either by drones in a coding center or by HR people.

    What's wrong with this in comparison though, is that when the end-user uses a web site you would assume there is error checking of form logic (ie, if I fill box A and B it should be able to tell if I need to fill out box C). There's still the problem of factual error by the user but that's harder to detect.

    The problem here though seems to be the data stored is erroneous due to problems with the code, not due to user error.

  • by ganjadude (952775) on Saturday December 07, 2013 @10:46AM (#45626385) Homepage
    really?because I am going to have to pay 2X more for a plan that is about 1/2 as good as what I had prior.
  • by BringsApples (3418089) on Saturday December 07, 2013 @10:57AM (#45626455)
    I waited until the last minute because 'fuck the government' right? But when I did call, I got a really nice lady that walked me through the whole process in less than 30 minutes. They basically ask you the questions from the forms (the forms are also available to fill out yourself and mail in. Forms link [], and instructions link [])

    I have a family of 4 and we'll end up paying $74.00 per month for Blue Cross Silver plan. It's better than what I have right now through Blue Cross, and I've been paying $400 a month for it.
  • Still they are doing it in the right order. Get people to commit to a plan before the dead line

    I think you've missed the point about having a 25% error rate. That means 25% of the people who used the exchange will have thought they selected a plan, but in reality, they didn't. They may think they have insurance, but don't.

    So, the correct order would be to do the backend first, which makes sure that people actually get insurance, then fix the pretty front end. Fixing the pretty front end first actually makes things worse because it increases the number of people who will be hurt by the errors.

FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse using ad hoc techniques. -- D. Gries [What's good about it? Ed.]