February 14, 2015 / 10:52 PM / 5 years ago

U.S. agency says work to fix problem hampering Obamacare applications

Fifty-four-years-old Natalia Pollack (L), uninsured since 1999, is helped to sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, by Carlos Tapia, a certified application councilor at a Single Stop USA site at West Side Campaign Against Hunger in New York City, March 31, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Segar

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A day before the open enrollment deadline for private health coverage under Obamacare, some consumers are unable to submit applications because of “intermittent issues” with income verification, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department said on Saturday.

The department said in a statement that it was working hard to resolve the problem with “external verification sources” ahead of the Feb. 15 deadline.

Those visiting the government’s HealthCare.gov website can set up their account, look at the available plans and start working on their application, the statement said. It did not say how many people were affected.

“Any consumer who is trying to get covered ahead of the deadline for March 1 coverage will be able to do so,” it said.

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, commonly known as Obamacare, opened for the second year of coverage on Nov. 15. The plans are sold on HealthCare.gov for 37 states. The other 13 states plus Washington, D.C., run their own websites.

The Obama administration said on Monday 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.

Reporting by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Jonathan Oatis

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