Busted: Only 67% of Obamacare enrollees paid their first month's premium

The House Energy and Commerce Committee announced that after receiving data from every insurance company selling policies through the national exchange, they have determined that only 67% of enrollees have paid their first month's premium.

The figures are accurate as of April 15, 2014.

Data provided to the committee by every insurance provider in the health care law’s Federally Facilitated Marketplace (FFM) shows that, as of April 15, 2014, only 67 percent of individuals and families that had selected a health plan in the federally facilitated marketplace had paid their first month’s premium and therefore completed the enrollment process. Nationwide, only 25 percent of paid enrollees are ages 18 to 34. The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations today invited the leaders of some of the nation’s largest insurance providers and their trade groups to testify at a hearing, “PPACA Enrollment and the Insurance Industry,” on Wednesday, May 7, 2014, at 10:15 a.m. in room 2123 Rayburn House Office Building.

House Energy and Commerce Committee members sent letters requesting specific enrollment data, including the number of individuals who have paid their first month’s premium and demographic breakdowns. The committee has compiled the data that provides a snapshot of the true enrollment picture as of April 15, 2014, after the official end of the open enrollment period. Due to the administration’s repeated and unilateral extensions and changes, as well as the fact that many insurers have reported that individuals will still have time to pay their first month’s premium, the committee plans to ask the insurers in the federally facilitated marketplace to provide an enrollment update by May 20, 2014. 

On April 17, 2014, President Obama declared the success of his law, claiming that 8 million Americans had signed up for health insurance, but data from the insurance providers reveals that the president’s figure is largely misleading. As of April 15, 2014, insurers informed the committee that only 2.45 million had paid their first month’s premium for coverage obtained through the federally facilitated marketplace. While the administration has relied on questionable nationwide figures to boast the law’s success, the state-by-state breakdown compiled by the committee underscores the serious problems facing some states.

There are important caveats to keep in mind about this number. There was a huge surge in enrollments at the end of March, coinciding with the deadline for sign ups. Many of those people would not have paid a premium by April 15 anyway and thus, would not be counted.  Secondly, this number does not include data from the state exchanges. Large states like California and New York that run their own websites may have done better, thus skewing the nationwide total upward.

Insurance companies have been saying for months that about 80% of enrollees ended up paying their first month's premium. Given how many have paid to date, it doesn't look like they're even going to make the 80% mark when all is said and done.

One thing is absolutely certain; there aren't 8 million people who are covered under Obamacare. There may not even be 6 million when the final tally is announced.

Now we know why the Obama administration treated enrollment data from the exchanges as something akin to nuclear bomb secrets; Tucked away in some corner CMS office is this same information. reported above - and a lot more data as well. The committee did a good job in ferreting out this information. That hearing on May 7 should be an interesting one. 


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