80% to 90% of Exchange Enrollees Have Paid Premiums, Insurers Say
Three large U.S. insurers in prepared congressional testimony say that between 80% and 90% of their new customers who enrolled in health plans through the Affordable Care Act's health insurance exchanges have paid their first month's premiums, the New York Times reports.
Officials from Aetna, Health Care Service Corporation -- which operates Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in five states -- and WellPoint are scheduled to appear at a House Energy and Commerce Committee panel hearing Wednesday (Pear, New York Times, 5/6).
Aetna reported that 500,000 -- or about 80% -- of the more than 600,000 individuals who enrolled in the insurer's health plans through exchanges in 17 states had paid their first month's premium (Dupree, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 5/6).
WellPoint reported that about 70% of customers who enrolled in its exchange plans between Oct. 1, 2013, and April 15 have paid their premiums. However, according to WellPoint executive Dennis Matheis, the proportion is higher among people who have passed their payment deadline, "ranging up to 90%, depending on the state" (New York Times, 5/6).
Health Care Services Corporation -- which offers health plans on exchanges in Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas -- said that among its exchange customers who had a payment date of Jan. 1, about 85% have paid. Meanwhile, about 90% of its ACA customers who had a payment date through April 30 have paid (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 5/6).
Enrollment, Payment Numbers Affected by Website Glitches
Health insurance industry officials in their testimony noted that enrollment figures -- the Obama administration said eight million have signed up for coverage through the exchanges -- might be inaccurate because they include a number of duplicate enrollments from customers who had to sign up for coverage more than once because of website glitches.
Mark Pratt, a senior vice president of America's Health Insurance Plans, said that insurers might still have many duplicate enrollments in their systems for which they have not received payments. As a result, he said it could be a "matter of months ... before insurers know how many people activated their coverage by paying their share of premiums."
Republican Report Refuted
The insurers' testimony comes after a GOP report released last month by the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations stated that about two-thirds of people who enrolled in health plans through the federal health insurance exchange paid their first month's premiums by April 15 (New York Times, 5/6).
For the report, the subcommittee obtained payment data from 160 insurers selling health plans through HealthCare.gov. The report did not include payment information from state-run exchanges, some of which extended their open enrollment periods to April 30 or later (Radnofsky/Wilde Mathews, Wall Street Journal, 4/30).
According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Republicans reported a lower rate of individuals who had paid their first month's premiums in part because they asked insurers only about premium payments received by April 15. However, at least three million U.S. residents enrolled in coverage that did not begin until May 1 or later, meaning their premiums were not due until April 30 at the earliest (Wayne, Bloomberg Businessweek, 5/7).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.