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What’s Working in the Marketplace: The Data Services Hub

Saturday, October 26, 2013

To give Americans a better way to shop for health coverage, the federal government and states recently launched Health Insurance Marketplaces.  Yesterday, we announced a clear path forward so that by the end of November, HealthCare.gov will work smoothly for the vast majority of consumers. But you probably haven’t heard about the Data Services Hub which serves as a critical resource for the Marketplaces, both state and federal.  The Hub is a tool to help you and your family get affordable, quality health care.

What Is the Hub?

The Hub is a routing tool – an information sharing tool. It is an efficient and secure way to rapidly verify the information submitted by consumers seeking a determination of what coverage options and financial assistance are available to them. 

You see, one of the great things about the new Marketplaces, which are getting better every day, is that through them, you can apply for health coverage, and check to see if you and your family may qualify for lower premiums, or for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).  But that one-stop shopping is possible only if information can be shared quickly, accurately, and securely.

The Hub provides one connection to the common federal data sources needed to verify consumer application information for income, citizenship, immigration status, access to minimum essential coverage, etc.

What the Hub Is Not

It’s important to understand that the Hub is not a database.  It doesn’t retain or store information.  And the Hub queries only those systems necessary to determine your eligibility for what you apply for.  It is a model of efficiency and security because it eliminates the need for each Marketplace, state Medicaid agency, and CHIP agency to set up separate data connections to each of the systems that are in place to help you and your family.   

How Many People Has It Helped?

As of yesterday, nearly 700,000 Americans had completed an application through the Marketplaces – more than half of them through the federal Marketplace.  This does not count applications directly to Medicaid and CHIP agencies that also can use the Hub. 

A few more stats of note:

  • State-based Marketplaces and the Federal Marketplace are getting real time and accurate eligibility determinations from the Data Services Hub in less than 1.2 seconds. 
  • The Social Security Administration has reported 4.2 million transactions involving individuals or households who have elected to establish an account.  The current overall verification rate for Social Security numbers is 96%.  With respect to those we’re unable to verify, consumers are notified online with instructions for resolving their verification issues.  The highest numbers of transactions continues to involve individuals and households in the following states:  Pennsylvania (323,000), New York (310,000), California (290,000), West Virginia (240,000), and Washington (135,000). 
  • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has received and responded to more than 1.3 million requests for historical household income and family size tax data from the hub.  The number of requests received does not reflect the number of people about whom the requests were made (i.e., a single request can involve everyone in a household).  Thus, the number of individuals about whom the requests were made could be higher than 1.3 million.  The IRS has provided data responses electronically via the hub in “near-real” time (average actual response time is 0.37 seconds). 
  • The IRS also offers an advance premium tax credit computation service, which is optional for state Marketplaces.  If a Marketplace chooses to use the IRS service, it sends a few data points, without identifying the applicant, and the IRS provides a math result in response. More than 330,000  requests have been received for the computation service with an average actual response time of 0.21 seconds. 

States are reporting that they are satisfied with the hub’s performance.  The technology program manager for Kentucky’s Marketplace said recently that 92% of applicants have been successfully verified through the hub: “We’re overjoyed with that 92 percent.  I don’t know that we thought it would be that high of a success rate.”  Connecticut has also reported few problems with the hub.

Bottom Line

The Hub is a 21st century way to assess eligibility for coverage and premium assistance, and it’s working for residents of all 50 states and DC.  We’ll continue to monitor and optimize its performance.  And we won’t stop working 24/7 until the doors of HealthCare.gov are wide open.  If you need health coverage, it’s our mission to be sure these tools are here for you, running smoothly.  The Hub is on the job, and so are we.

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Submitted by Mark on
How will the government protect consumers from healthcare providers who offer misleading healthcare plans? Does the average consumer get the level of coverage as a citizen of Camada does?
Submitted by gary on
This is wonderful news. This should be available to all "Breaking News" reports. Everyone needs to get off of Healthcare.go v. and move on!
Submitted by Jerry on
Did Secretary Sebelius really write this.... Or was it written by an aide and then vetted through all channels including the whitehouse? I get the politics behind her name being the author, but this as written sounds very different from when I've heard her speak. Why not increase trust by having a more technical person - like the one that wrote the first draft of this blog post - explain the data hub? Also "Mollom"... What's Mollom?
Submitted by Bob on
Good news about the "hub", but what about the remainder of the systems. According to the set-up techs, all was working well Oct 1. It is very frustrating to continue to be put off when trying to enroll. For myself, I tend to put it off until later, then I question whether or not it's worth the effort.
Submitted by Sandra on
How about just fixing the ability to log in! I have created a third username and password, as the first two have not worked and therefore I don't even know if they are in the system. Calling the 800 number is no help with the online system, they cannot confirm that the id's are in the system, instead I get an agent you wants to help me fill this application over the phone....ARE YOU NUTS!!! I want to 'control' and assure what I am entering into the system is correct. FIX THIS MESS! GETTING INTO THE SYSTEM WITH A USERID/PASSWORD IS PRETTY ELEMENTARY TO THOSE OF US WHO HAVE WORKED IN THE 'IT' WORLD.
Submitted by Norman on
I signed up on 10/01/13 by cellphone. The person I talked with stated that other people will review my application and get back to me however; no one has contacted by phone, email or mail. I would like to view plans for Oklahoma as soon as possible. Also, I request anyone contact me on the status of my application.
Submitted by Jim R on
Good luck. I'm waiting too. This is a big black hole. Everyone want your SSN too! I'm at a loss as to what to do next. Even our Senator and representative's offices don't respond. This is one of the biggest screw ups ever, especially for $634 million!