Sunday, May 4, 2014

Report: Just 2.4 Million Customers Paid Their First Premium

Report: Just 2.4 Million Customers Paid Their First Premium

Just 67 percent of Obamacare enrollees in federally-run marketplaces had paid their premiums by April 15, bringing the federally-run Obamacare enrollment tally to only 2.45 million, according to documents provided to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The Obama administration has been heavily promoting that 8 million Americans selected plans on Obamacare marketplaces, but has refused to release any data on how many purchased their plans.

According to all 160 insurers participating in the federal exchanges, just 2.45 million people paid their first month’s premium by April 15. That accounts for 36 states, although high-enrollment state-run Obamacare exchanges — like California with its 1.4 million sign-ups — aren’t included.

The 67 percent payment rate as of April 15 is markedly lower than the 80-85 percent that experts have predicted will end up paying their premiums. April 30 is the final day for most federal exchange customers to make their payments.

Of those who have paid their premiums, just 25 percent fall within the highly desired young invincible range from age 18 to 34 — drastically lower than the administration’s minimum goal of 39 percent needed to avoid premium hikes next year.

The House committee compiled the data from insurance providers participating in the federally-run exchanges through, after requesting the information in early March. Members will ask insurers to update the payment data by May 20 to include full payments through April 30.

“In a sad reversal away from its vows of transparency, the Obama administration, from inside the Oval Office on down, has gone to extraordinary lengths to keep basic details of the health care law from the public,” said Michigan Republican Rep. Fred Upton, chairman of the committee. “Tired of receiving incomplete pictures of enrollment in the health care law, we went right to the source and found that the administration’s recent declarations of success may be unfounded.”

The Obama administration has been touting exchanges’ 8 million sign-ups far and wide, but have come under fire for refusing to release any data on the number of Americans that have actually paid for their health care plans.

The enrollment data frequently touted by the White House includes anyone who selected a health care plan via an Obamacare exchange — similar to putting a product in a shopping cart on a website, but not purchasing it.

Texas has the lowest payment rate so far at 42 percent, while President Barack Obama’s home state of Illinois has had just 52 percent of customers pay their first premium.

While most customers had through April 30 to finally pay up for their plans, the numbers question whether the Obama administration will meet its goal of 7 million paying customers. Even if customers have been paying up in droves over the last two weeks and meet experts expectations of a 80-85 percent payment rate, real enrollment would total between 6.4 million to 6.8 million.

It’s still not clear how many of 2.45 million paid enrollees were previously uninsured. After a report from consulting firm McKinsey found lower payment rates from the previously uninsured, Manhattan Institute health policy expert Avik Roy warned that the previously uninsured could make up as little as 24 percent of paid exchange customers.

An even more accurate measure of Obamacare’s success will be how many Americans will continue to pay their premiums each month. That tally will likely fall even further over the next year.

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