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Obamacare's 'Orphans' and 'Ghosts' May Have Trouble Getting Care in January

Health insurance companies are spending the last week of the year searching for orphans and ghosts—the people who tried to buy health plans through but have had their files mixed up or lost en route from the government website to the insurance company’s database.

The insurance companies dub “orphans” the people who selected a health plan on but whose enrollment never got transmitted. “Ghosts” are the opposite: Customers whom insurers have counted as enrolled but aren’t on the government’s list of people who chose that plan—perhaps because they cancelled their plans or switched to a different company.