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HealthCare.gov officials: Glitchy info to insurers “vastly improved”

Photo courtesy Healthcare.gov

Even as the “user experience” on HealthCare.gov improves, insurers have warned that they’re still experiencing significant problems getting accurate information about enrolles from the federal website. The administration, however, said Monday that it’s resolved the technical error responsible for the majority of those issues.

“We expect the info now sent to insurers to be vastly improved,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday, adding that the administration is still working with issuers to fix any remaining problems.

Julie Bataille, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), told reporters Monday that specifically, the program that transmits enrollee information to insurers had a glitch that omitted Social Security numbers from the transmission. This error caused 80 percent of the back end problems that insurers have experienced, she said, and is now fixed.

Even so, Carney said the administration is taking extra steps to make sure Obamacare enrollees are, in fact, enrolled.

“We are very mindful of making sure that consumers who want coverage starting in January are able to get it,” Carney said. “And CMS is reaching out directly to consumers who have already selected a plan to let them know to be in touch with their plan, to pay their first premium to ensure that coverage kicks in, and know that plans are working hard to make sure their new customers are covered.”

Pointing to the continued interest in Obamacare in spite of the website’s problems, the administration boasted that about 375,000 people visited HealthCare.gov on Monday before Noon -- twice the volume the website sees on a typical Monday. The administration said last week that the improved site could handle as many as 50,000 users at a time, but today the queueing function on the site kicked in when around 35,000 users were concurrently on the site.

Meanwhile, about 100,000 people chose a private health insurance plan on HealthCare.gov in the month of November, an administration official told CBS News -- about four times as many enrollees as the website saw in October.

Given all the problems with the HealthCare.gov rollout, former Obama White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said on MSNBC Monday that it would be “inexplicable” if President Obama didn’t fire some of the personnel responsible for the debacle.

“This has been a completely unnecessary embarrassment,” Gibbs said. “It’s been an embarrassment for activist government in many ways.”

However, Carney maintained that there are no planned personnel changes.

“Issues on personnel are not something that we're focused on right now when it comes to making the Affordable Care Act work for the American people,” he said, adding that they’re not focused on “Monday morning quarterbacking.”