The Obama administration is redefining the word "enrollee" in a bid to boost the numbers of people it says are signing on to Obamacare.
Insurance companies normally use the word to describe those who have signed up and received a member's card, but the White House is defining those "enrolled" as individuals who "have a plan sitting in their online shopping cart but have not yet paid," The Washington Post reports
Payment for Jan. 1 coverage isn't due until Dec. 15.
Pressed this week for enrollment figures, the administration changed the definition of "enrollee," hoping it could help in the public relations battle.
The change, though, is politically contentious, the Post reported.
"In the data that will be released this week, 'enrollment' will measure people who have filled out an application and selected a qualified health plan in the marketplace," an unidentified administration official said.
Different definitions lead to different enrollment estimates. In the District of Columbia, for instance, health-insurance plans reported that five people had signed up for a plan in the first month. The city's exchange put the number at 321, saying that 164 of these had requested a payment invoice, while the other applications were in their shopping carts, according to the Post.
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reported
on Monday that about 50,000 individuals — a fraction of the administration's 500,000 target — had enrolled in private health plans through the HealthCare.gov site running in 36 states.
States operating their own exchanges enrolled an additional 49,000, but not all states had released figures, Politico reported,
citing Avalere Healthcare, a consulting company.
The HealthCare.gov site needs to be properly functioning by Nov. 30 to give Americans waiting to enroll by the Dec. 15 deadline sufficient time to sign up for Jan. 1 coverage, The Hill reported.
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