Members of Congress came out swinging Wednesday at a committee hearing with top insurers called as witnesses to determine whom of the more than 8 million Obamacare enrollees have paid their first months premium.
The hearing was a follow-up to an April 30 report from the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee. According to insurers, it indicated that just 67% of individuals and families who selected a health plan in the federally facilitated health insurance marketplace had paid their first months premium and completed the enrollment process, as of April 15. The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid said at the time, the numbers were closer to 80-90%.
Members of the House committee went to the insurers after the Obama administration and CMS would not provide the numbers and a White House spokesman directed the committee to the insurance companies.
At the hearing, executives from Wellpoint, Aetna, Cigna, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and the Health Care Service Corp., all said that of those enrollees whose premium due date has paid, the percentage of those who have paid ranges from 80% to 90%. With the late surge of enrollment due to the extended open enrollment deadline of April 15, many premiums are not yet due. The number for those who have not hit their due date is lower but the insurers said most people pay their premiums as the due date approaches.
Mark Pratt, SVP of state affairs at insurer trade group America's Health Insurance Plans said at the hearing that insurers are doing everything they can to make sure people pay their premiums. In the coming weeks, there will be greater clarity, he said. We anticipate more announcements will be coming. However, [there] may be a period of time before system-wide numbers are available.
Also at the hearing, the insurers disclosed that the backend of Healthcare.gov still has issues. In response to questions from Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas) about the website, all the insurers said there were still issues remaining. CMS did not immediately return a request for comment.
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