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Obamacare data entry workers sit with nothing to do, news report claims

Obamacare data entry workers sit with nothing to do, news report claims

Report illustrates continuing problems with state health insurance exchange websites

How much should data entry workers get paid and should they sit all day with nothing to do?

A source, identified by the Missouri news media as a “whistleblower,” said $1.2 billion is being used in part on data workers’ salary who appear to do little each day at an enrollment processing center for Obamacare, formally known as the Affordable Care Act.

The Washington Times reported the workers are being paid from a $1.2 billion taxpayer-funded contract.

“Their goals are set to process two applications per month and some people are not even able to do that,” the unnamed employee told KMOV-TV.

The employee works at a Wentzville facility that is being run Serco of the United Kingdom.

The contract covers in part some 1,500 new employees who process paper applications, The Washington Post reported. But the workers have not received any paper applications.

“They’re told to sit at their computers and hit the refresh button every 10 minutes — no more than every 10 minutes,” the employee said in an interview with the TV station. “They’re monitored, to hopefully look for an application.”

The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare also told KMOV-TV, that “Serco is committed to making sure federal funds are spent appropriately and the number of Serco staff is reviewed on a regular basis.”

In a related matter, The Fiscal Times reported that some of state-run health insurance exchange websites are not working after – in total – about $474 million was spent on them.

Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon and Nevada each have state-run exchanges which are not working.

The Fiscal Times reports Maryland will spend $40 million more on its website, on top of the $90 million already spent. Also, Nevada already has spent $50 million. Massachusetts will spend an additional $121 million on its website.

And Oregon's website, which already cost $259 million, led to the state forgetting about the site and opting to spend $5 million more to use Healthcare.gov, the national site. Minnesota, Nevada and Rhode Island may also opt for using HealthCare.gov instead of their state-run sites.

Healthcare.gov was estimated to have cost $677 million – as of November, according to Kathleen Sebelius, the former Secretary of Health and Human Services. And the federal government has spent close to $4.7 billion to implement the exchanges, the Kaiser Family Foundation said. 

 

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Contributing Author

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Ed Silverstein

Ed Silverstein is a veteran writer and editor for magazines, websites and newspapers. A graduate of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, he has won several...

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