Obamacare Troofers: Oh Noes, Nobody's Paying Their Premiums!
Credit: detroit.cbslocal.com
May 2, 2014

UPDATE: Hah, even the Repugs are admitting their "survey" was bogus.

Man, these Republicans are really desperate to make Obamacare into a disaster! And I have to laugh when I hear them complain that people aren't paying -- it took me THREE MONTHS and countless hours on the phone before I finally got Blue Cross to accept my payments. (They kept trying to bill me for a policy I'd already cancelled, and claimed to have no record of the new policy.)

It was clear to me that they weren't prepared for all the additional business, and didn't have the IT capability or enough customer service reps to keep up with the demand. Mind you, I work from home, and had the freedom to keep calling and calling and CALLING until it was all straightened out. (Not to mention all that time on hold.) So no, I don't think the payment problems are all on the customer end:

On Wednesday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee put out a reportlooking at enrollment (“report” is overdoing it; it’s one page). It was methodologically pretty simple. They collected data from every insurer participating in what’s called the Federally Facilitated Marketplace (FFM) and looked at who’d signed up for coverage and who’d paid a first premium by April 15. The House panel’s answer was 67 percent.

Now, 67 percent doesn’t sound half bad to me, but the GOP spun it as yet another Obamacare disaster—it would push the “real enrollment” number down near 5 million and mean that one in three people who’d signed up for health-care coverage was already delinquent. They didn’t quite say that, but it was obviously the whole point of the report. “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,” said committee chairman Fred Upton of Michigan.

People who didn’t even have premiums due yet, and who account for 37.5 percent of all enrollees, are counted in this GOP report as part of the delinquent third.

The committee got what it wanted: Headlines saying only 67 percent of ACA enrollees were paying. I’m sure there was ample coverage on Fox News, and it blasted out across the talk-radio waves. They have a talking point now, and a number, and it’s low enough that they can spin it as a lousy number.The only problem is, it’s a wrong number.

The Democratic minority on the committeereleased a memorandum slicing the majority’s logic to pieces in a matter of three paragraphs.

Actually, it can be done in one sentence: Lots of enrollees’ first premiums weren’t even due by April 15!

Here’s a little language from the Democratic memo that lays it out a bit more fully: “As of April 15, premiums had only come due for individuals who had signed up for coverage before March 15. Five million individuals had enrolled in coverage through the marketplaces as of March 17. On April 17, the president announced that 8 million Americans had signed up for coverage through the marketplaces. That means that more than 3 million enrollees—or nearly 40 percent of all enrollees—did not have premiums due by April 15 and therefore were not required to have paid them by that point.”

In other words, people who didn’t even have premiums due yet, and who account for 37.5 percent of all enrollees, are counted in this GOP report as part of the delinquent third.

If you don’t want to take it from Democrats, take it from the insurance officials themselves.
They dispute the GOP numbers. Karen Ignani of AHIP, a large group of providers, said the pay-up rate so far in her realm has been 85 percent. The Blue Cross-Blue Shield group says 80 to 85 percent of enrollees have been paying. And WellPoint announced, on the very day of the GOP report, that its figure was 90 percent.

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