US

Obama HHS breaks its own rules with Obamacare enrollee claim

An official flow chart from the Department of Health & Human Services’ Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services contradicts the White House claim that more than 100,000 Americans have enrolled in Obamacare exchanges.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services reported last week that 106,000 eligible people enrolled in the Obamacare exchanges, a far cry from the stated goal of seven million covered Americans.

But a flow chart [pdf] from the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) indicates that even that 106,000 figure may be inflated.

That’s because the CMS doesn’t consider someone to be enrolled until that person has paid his or her first premium and Health and Human Services (HHS) mails out a “Welcome Packet.” The question is not how many have chosen a plan, but how many “Welcome Packets” have been mailed out.

But in announcing its enrollment figure, HHS included people who had merely “selected a marketplace plan.”

In order to reach that 106,000 figure, the White House is almost certainly counting people who have not completed the legal definition of an enrollment — a statistical fudge President Obama has alluded to in his public comments. (RELATED: Salesman in chief pitches Obamacare to midday TV audience)

“Keep in mind the insurance doesn’t start until January 1st,” the President said in his October 21 “ShamWow” speech in the White House Rose Garden. “That’s the earliest that the insurance can kick in.  No one who decides to purchase a plan has to pay their first premium until December 15th.”

Critics of the unpopular healthcare law have pointed out that counting selected, rather than purchased, plans is statistically slippery. But the CMS flowchart indicates it’s also prohibited by HHS rules, in which people who have not paid premiums do not count as Obamacare enrollees.

The CMS did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The byzantine end-to-end enrollment process flow chart from CMS.gov details the processes from the moment a potential enrollee logs onto the online marketplace and the data processes and the administrative steps from start to finish.

A U.S. Senator who asked not to be identified told The Daily Caller this week his office had learned that enrollees in the exchange have 90 days of free health insurance before they ever even have to pay a premium.

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