What a crock. I've been trying to pay my Obamacare premium since December, so I know a little something about the real story behind this: Namely, that the insurance companies were simply not prepared to handle the additional demands. (Notice the article doesn't include quotes from any enrollees.)
And how do I know this?
I've spent the past two months trying to get Independence Blue Cross to cancel the first plan I selected. (I estimate I spent eight hours on this in the past month alone.) Many of their nice customer service people assured me it was done, but that policy was The Thing That Would Not Die.
I received ID cards for both plans -- with the same ID number. They kept telling me I had to pay for the more expensive one (Healthcare.gov reps told me to ignore it and it would be canceled). I wanted to pay for the other plan, but after one person told me it was "in the system" and that it hadn't been processed yet, no one could ever find it again. I made arrangements last month to pay my January and February premiums with check-by-phone (I didn't have my debit card because it was being replaced after the Target hack), but guess what?
They never processed the draft and they have no record of it in the system. (Although I do suspect it will magically appear after I pay it again.)
I couldn't pay it until this week because I did not have the billing number that goes with the proper account. Magically, a bill arrived with the correct information this Thursday.
Please keep in mind, I work from home. So when Blue Cross put me on hold for an hour at a time, and then transferred me to another number that invariably disconnected, I was able to call back. Compare and contrast this with the average working stiff, whose boss is frowning over his or her shoulder.
The insurance companies didn't extend the premium deadlines to be nice. They did it because they didn't have the capacity for the volume.
So when the media elite start clucking over the "deadbeats" who signed up for Obamacare, you may rest assured they did their usual indepth look at the problem: That is to say, they wrote down what they were told:
WASHINGTON — One in five people who signed up for health insurance under the new health care law failed to pay their premiums on time and therefore did not receive coverage in January, insurance companies and industry experts say.
Paying the first month’s premium is the final step in completing an enrollment. Under federal rules, people must pay the initial premium to have coverage take effect. In view of the chaotic debut of the federal marketplace and many state exchanges, the White House urged insurers to give people more time, and many agreed to do so. But, insurers said, some people missed even the extended deadlines.