Report: no more than a third of Obamacare enrollees previously uninsured

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Millions have signed up for Obamacare through the exchanges, but only a minority are believed to have been previously uninsured.

An analysis from the RAND Corporation found that just a third of exchange enrollees were previously uninsured. The survey has not yet been released, but the Los Angeles Times revealed the details Monday.

But RAND’s report includes selected plans alone, not paid enrollments. Manhattan Institute health policy expert Avik Roy couples RAND’s conclusions with the results of a comparable February survey from consultant McKinsey, which found that the previously uninsured were following through with paying their premiums at a much lower rate than those who had prior coverage.

McKinsey found that while 86 percent of the previously insured had paid for their coverage, just 53 percent of those without prior coverage had submitted their first premium payment. By overlapping the two surveys, Roy estimates that close to 24 percent of exchange customers that have paid were previously uninsured.

While RAND’s full analysis is not yet available, the ballpark figure of 24-33 percent previously uninsured customers falls far short of the administration’s goals for the exchanges.

The Congressional Budget Office originally predicted that most exchange customers receiving subsidies would be previously uninsured; as it turns out, those who could already afford their own coverage opted to switch over to take advantage of the taxpayer-funded deal — or had their plans canceled by the health care law and were forced to seek coverage elsewhere.

RAND Corp. also found that close to one million people who had their health plans cancelled by Obamacare regulations in 2013 are still uninsured. The total number of plans cancelled due to being non-compliant with new Affordable Care Act requirements comes closer to 4.7 million.

Democrats have repeatedly brushed aside the complaints because more plans with more services (and more expenses) were often available. But RAND’s results indicate that a sizable chunk were unable or unwilling to pay more for their health insurance under Obamacare.

Close to 48.6 million Americans do not carry health insurance. In contrast, 6 million have selected plans on a federal exchange, and generous estimates indicate that around 80 percent of those will actually purchase their plans. With Roy’s estimate that just a quarter of those individuals will be previously uninsured, Obamacare won’t be newly providing many Americans with insurance coverage at all.

The exact enrollment numbers will not be made public for some time.

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