Washington Healthplanfinder, our state's Obamacare health insurance exchange, announced today that about 8,000 applicants who had previously applied for insurance had received estimates of higher tax credits than their household income and size would allow:
The issue was caused by inconsistent files being shared between Washington Healthplanfinder and the federal government, which determines eligibility for tax credits. The error was corrected on the night of Oct. 23 and has not affected customers who received tax credit eligibility after that time. This will not affect future customers.
The error will also not affect the 40,000 applicants who have qualified for Medicaid through Washington Apple Health, nor those individuals who purchased insurance without a federal credit. Only about 10 percent of applicants were affected by this error.
"The Exchange is very disappointed to have discovered this issue and we find the situation unacceptable," Washington Health Benefit Exchange CEO said in a prepared statement. "Our staff will not stop working until we have notified all those affected and helped each and every one of our customers to ensure they have the correct tax credit amount and can choose the best plan to meet their needs and budget."
Embarrassing, sure. And it certainly does tarnish Washington as one of the states whose exchange has functioned relatively well. But it's a complicated system that was rushed online in a relatively short amount of time—more of a beta launch than a final product—so it's not surprising to see bugs like this rear their ugly head.