March 26 2014
Patrice J. Lee
Signups for ObamaCare are behind the trajectory to hit the Administration’s six-million enrollment target, which was revised down from seven million. However, to truly be enrolled in ObamaCare in any meaningful sense signups must actually pay their first month’s premiums.
We’re learning forty percent of signups have yet to actually pay and the variances in premium payment are quiet notable from state exchange to state exchange. In fact, it’s getting difficult for insurance companies to collect that payment from “enrollees”
In Washington State, 39 percent of the 184,000 residents who signed up for coverage have yet to pay for their coverage. In contrast California’s state exchange reported that only about 15 percent have yet to pay.
The Daily Caller reports:
Industry experts have projected that around 80 percent of Obamacare customers will end up paying their premiums by the end of the open enrollment period March 31. White House press secretary Jay Carney denied that the Obama administration has any knowledge of the actual payment numbers last week, but pointed reporters to the ballpark figure of 80 percent
At the end of February, Washington wasn’t anywhere close to that number. Of 184,000 Washington state residents that signed up for a private health plan on the exchange website, just 112,000 paid for coverage. The data update was released Tuesday and the exchange’s board will meet Thursday to discuss the numbers.
Although the payment numbers appear low so far, Washington state’s site was one of the few that performed reasonably well since the beginning of the enrollment period in October.
The White House acknowledged recently that of the five million “enrollments” a fifth of them have yet to pay their premiums – that’s one million signups! So really, only four million people have actually enrolled in ObamaCare. The Administration claims not to know specific numbers which , if accurate,is irresponsible and should be unacceptable to taxpayers. Where is the accountability for how our tax dollars are being spent?
Signing up for ObamaCare has been a challenge given the troubled healthcare.gov website and state exchange websites. Missing functionality and back-end woes continue to plague the ObamaCare system. When some applicants got their plans approved, they still have to grapple with insurance companies and healthcare providers over the coverage provided by their plans. There are many others who are learning just how difficult it is to find doctors and hospitals that will actually accept their new ObamaCare plans.
This is what reality looks like compared with the neat blueprints that ObamaCare architects crafted. Central planning works in theory but fails in practice because planners have so little information about real human behavior and don’t –or can’t- account for unintended consequences. In this case, those costs outweigh the portended benefits.
If 20-25 percent of “enrollees” never end up paying their premiums, in the short-term we’ll have inflated numbers against which insurers have set rates. In the long-term insurers will adjust and those adjustments will likely lead to higher premiums and costs.
What will happen to those non-paying “enrollees”? Well, what happens when you don’t pay your car or home insurance? I’m guessing, hundreds of thousands – or perhaps a million American- will find out in a few months if they remain delinquent in paying their premiums.