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Health care site has a few glitches

A small number of people are having trouble completing the enrollment process for health insurance, even as the Massachusetts Health Connector logs ever-growing numbers of paid enrollees, reaching 55,260 by Dec. 30.

Insurers are failing to receive enrollment files for some Connector customers who have paid for insurance effective Jan. 1, according to the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans.

“It appears right now in some instances, health plans have not received enrollment information for some consumers,” perhaps as many as 200, said association spokesman Eric Linzer. He said he did not know the cause of the problem.

But Maydad Cohen, the top official overseeing the Connector website, said the agency has uncovered no big snags.


“There’s certainly no widespread issues with transferring files over to carriers,” he said. “There are little things that occur here and there.”

Cohen said people who paid for health insurance by Dec. 28 will be covered retroactive to Jan. 1, regardless of whether they have received an insurance card or confirmation from the health plan. Those who paid later in the year may not receive their cards until this week or next, but can obtain medical care while waiting. Each insurer has a different approach to handling that situation, listed on the Connector’s website,

Dr. Robert Lambe, a family physician who lives in Rehoboth and works under contract at Wrentham Developmental Center, said he purchased health insurance with Harvard Pilgrim Health Care through the Connector, which serves people who do not receive coverage through their employer.

The plan with Harvard Pilgrim was superior to his current plan. But Lambe said he has not been able to get on Harvard Pilgrim’s rolls, even though the first month’s premium was withdrawn from his bank account on Nov. 26 and he received a “welcome” letter from the Connector.


In phone calls to Harvard Pilgrim and the Connector in December, Lambe could not get it straightened out, he said. He even offered to personally visit the Connector and hand-deliver his enrollment documents to Harvard Pilgrim. The offer, he said, was declined.

The Connector assured him he would be covered, but Harvard Pilgrim would not make such promises, according to Lambe. Rather than risk being uninsured, he extended his current coverage another month.

Harvard Pilgrim declined to answer the Globe’s questions about whether the company was having difficulty receiving enrollment files. Instead, the insurer e-mailed a statement saying that those who paid on time would have coverage effective Jan. 1.

“Harvard Pilgrim and the Connector continue to work together to ensure that all enrollments are appropriately processed,” the statement said.

Linzer said such problems are not occurring to the same extent as last year, when the Connector’s website, retooled to comply with the federal Affordable Care Act, failed to work for most people.

“But at the same time, we recognize it’s an inconvenience and a challenge to the consumer that we didn’t want to have happen in the first place,” he said.

Despite scattered problems, more than 300,000 consumers by Sunday had determined what coverage they were eligible for, a number Cohen called a significant milestone.

Open enrollment continues until Feb. 15. People who want coverage effective Feb. 1 need to pay by Jan. 23.

Felice J. Freyer can be reached at