Health care

House GOP: Just 67 percent of federal ObamaCare enrollees have paid premiums

FILE: UNDATED:  The Affordable Care Act website.

FILE: UNDATED: The Affordable Care Act website.  (REUTERS)

Just 67 percent of Americans who purchased insurance through federal ObamaCare exchanges have paid their premiums, according to information insurers participating in the program gave to Congress.

The information was compiled by the GOP-led House Committee on Energy and Commerce, as Americans wait to learn enrollment details from the Obama administration, weeks after the enrollment deadline.  

However, Aaron Albright, a spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, disputed the new numbers. "These claims are based on only about half of the approximately 300 issuers in the federally-facilitated marketplace and they do not match up with public comments from insurance companies themselves, most of which indicate that 80 to 90 percent of enrollees have paid their premium," he said. 

Albright added: "Additionally, given the significant surge in enrollments at the end of March, it stands to reason that not all enrollees would have paid by the date of this so-called report since many people’s bills were not even due yet." 

The committee said the age group with lowest percentage of enrollees who have paid their first month’s premium is the 65-and-older group. Just one percent of those paid, according to information supplied by all 160 insurance companies in the federally-facilitated ObamaCare exchanges.

Texas had the lowest percentage of payers by state, at 42 percent, in the committee’s nationwide breakdown of the numbers, as of April 15.

President Obama, in the days following the deadline, declared his signature health care law a success, saying in a press conference that more than eight million people enrolled in the first six months, exceeding the goal of seven million.

But the president has yet to announce several key figures, including the age breakdown for enrollees and how many have paid, which would likely provide a more accurate picture of the 2010 law’s success.

The age group breakdown is considered important because the success of ObamaCare is based on having a high percentage of young Americans signed up to cover older enrollees, who typically need more health care.

Only 25 percent of that key demographic, 18-to-34-year-olds, has so far paid, according to the data supplies by the committee.

“The Obama administration, from inside the Oval Office on down, has gone to extraordinary lengths to keep basic details of the health law from the public,” said committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Michigan. “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.”

The highest percentage of payers by age was the 55-to-64-year-old group, at 29 percent.

The state with the highest percentage was Arkansas, at 88 percent.

Committee members said the numbers were only a “snapshot” of the situation and that they will seek updated numbers by May 20. They also are scheduled to hold a hearing on the issue, with tleaders of some of the country’s largest insurance providers invited.

Members also said they went to the insurers at the suggestion of the administration, which said it need more time to compile the data.