Tags: Healthcare Reform | insurance | enrollment | paying | premiums

Data Show 15-20 Percent of ACA Enrollees Haven't Paid Premiums

Thursday, 03 Apr 2014 06:04 PM

By Jason Devaney

Blue Cross Blue Shield has data that shows 15 to 20 percent of Americans that are signed up for Obamacare have not paid their premiums, making the actual number of sign-ups closer to 6 million.

National Journal reports that 80 to 85 percent of people who enrolled with the insurance company through the Obamacare exchanges paid their first month's premium. The rest have not paid, meaning they are not actually covered under any insurance plan.

The news was proof that the system is not working, Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar told Newsmax. "This is just more evidence of what I, and many of my Republican colleagues, have been saying all along: Obamacare just doesn’t work — in theory or in practice," said Gosar, a dentist, in a statement.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius accepted the figures saying other insurance companies have reported similar numbers.

But she tried to put a positive spin on the numbers. "Insurance companies... tell us from their initial customers it’s somewhere between 80, 85, some say it’s as high as 90 percent have paid so far," Sebelius said.

"Lots of companies have different timetables for when their new customers have to send their first payment. You are not fully enrolled until you pay your premium."

National Journal estimates that if the national average of paying Obamacare enrollees is between 80 and 85 percent, the overall number of Americans covered under the Affordable Care Act is between 5.6 and 6.1 million — not the 7.1 million that have reportedly signed up.

On Thursday, the Obama administration announced the final day to enroll in an insurance plan through the Obamacare exchanges will be April 15. People who started to fill out an application online are being granted the extension to complete the process.

"For those in line on the 31st, we encourage consumers to finish the process as soon as possible," Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services spokesman Aaron Albright said, the Wall Street Journal reports.

"They must complete their enrollment by no later than the 15th for coverage this year."

The later deadline is seen by some Obamacare critics as a way to get more people to sign up for healthcare plans, since there will not be a way to verify if someone actually tried to sign up before the March 31 deadline.

Deadlines to sign up for plans have been fluid since the website rollout last fall. The deadline to get coverage for Jan. 1 was changed from Dec. 15 to Dec. 23, and then the March 31 date became a soft deadline.

Open enrollment for 2015 is set to begin Nov. 15, a change from the initial date of Oct. 15.

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