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February 14, 2015

U.S. agency fixes Obamacare enrollment issues

Agency fixes Obamacare enrollment issues

WASHINGTON - A day before the open enrollment deadline for private health coverage under Obamacare, "intermittent issues" with income verification prevented some consumers from enrolling, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department said on Saturday.

The agency, which said in a statement Saturday it was working to fix the problem, later confirmed  the problem had been resolved ahead of the Feb. 15 deadline. 

The number of people affected by the issue was not released, but the agency said it worked with the Internal Revenue Service to correct the problem. 

"Starting [Sunday], we will be reaching out to those consumers who were unable to complete their application to let them know they should come back to or contact the call center to complete their enrollment," the agency said.

Anyone who was unable to submit an application because their income could not be verified due to this or any other technical problem will receive an extension for enrollment, the agency clarified. 

A senior U.S. health official said last week that nearly 7.5 million people had signed up for 2015 Obamacare health plans through the federal exchange, and that demand was increasing as the Feb. 15 deadline approached.

Enrollment for individual plans, created as part of the Affordable Care Act, opened for the second year of coverage on Nov. 15. The plans are sold on for 37 states, while the other 13 states plus Washington, D.C. run their own websites.

On Monday, the Obama administration said that 2015 Obamacare subsidies are averaging $268 a month for people in the 37 states who have qualified for federal assistance.

An administration statement said subsidies had reduced average monthly premiums to $105 as of Jan. 30 for 6.5 million people who qualified through the federal website.

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