Democrats claim three million people have enrolled in private health insurance through Obamacare. But how many have actually paid for their plans?
Several state exchanges have begun reporting the number of customers that did pay their first premiums, and some results are as low as 51 percent.
The Obama administration defines HealthCare.gov enrollees as those who have simply selected plans, but not paid. If the limited data available plays out for more states, actual enrollment could be much lower than the three million private insurance signups currently claimed.
Only five of the 15 state exchanges clearly differentiate between paid enrollments and selected plans or completed applications. The remaining 35 states operating under HealthCare.gov make no such distinction.
While the number of states reporting this information is small, they actually make up a good chunk of Obamacare’s currently accepted 3 million nationwide enrollment total. According to the Obama administration’s most recent detailed report on enrollment data, these five states — New York, California, Washington state, Nevada and Rhode Island — account for a third.
California’s exchange last reported that three-fourths of its reported enrollees had paid their first premiums, according to California Healthline; Washington’s totals released Tuesday indicate that only 51 percent have purchased their plans.
New York’s numbers are fuzzier, since the exchange itself doesn’t separate applications for Medicaid and private plans. It counts 412,221 enrollments for public and private coverage (just 251,000 are private plans), but notes that another 697,000 customers have completed applications on the exchange website. If the entire 421,221 have paid (or accepted the low- to no-cost Medicaid coverage), New York’s payment rate is only 59 percent.
Even analysts who are pessimistic about Obamacare’s chances of success believe most states will have a fairly high proportion of consumers follow through and pay their premiums. Health industry expert Bob Laszewski estimates that around 20 percent of so-called enrollees won’t end up purchasing their coverage — just under Rhode Island’s rate.
But the data available so far indicates a much lower share of fully-paid customers.
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