Despite GOP Claims, Obamacare Enrollees Are Paying Premiums

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
May 7 2014 6:21 PM

Despite GOP Claims, Obamacare Enrollees Are Paying Premiums

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Top insurance companies say most customers who have enrolled in Obamacare have paid their premiums.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Ever since the Obama administration managed to reach its goal of 7 million Obamacare signups by April 1, Republicans have accused the administration of fudging the numbers when it came to new enrollees. Last week, House GOP members released a report to buttress their claim, saying on 67 percent of those who signed up for Obamacare had paid their premiums. On Wednesday, however, leading health insurance companies—WellPoint, Aetna, and Health Care Service Corp (which runs Blue Cross Blue Shield)—testified before Congress that number of enrollees that have paid premiums is actually far higher—around 80 percent.

Here’s more on what the insurers have found so far, and why the numbers have varied, from Bloomberg:

As many as 90 percent of WellPoint customers have paid their first premium by its due date, according to testimony the company prepared for a congressional hearing today. For Aetna, the payment is in the “low to mid-80 percent range,” the company said in its own testimony. Health Care Service Corp., which operates Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in five states including Texas, said that number is at least 83 percent.
While the Obama administration says that 8 million people signed up for private plans using the law’s insurance exchanges, federal officials have said they don’t track first premium payments. Due dates for the first premium vary by company and aren’t always strictly enforced… The Republicans reported a lower percentage of paid premiums in part because they surveyed insurers only on payments received by April 15. At least 3 million people signed up for coverage that didn’t begin until May 1 or later; their premiums weren’t due until at least April 30. The Republicans say they plan to update their report about May 20, when due dates will have passed for most Obamacare plans.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.