CMS Plans To Release ACA Enrollment Data Next Week
On Tuesday, CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner told lawmakers during a Senate committee hearing that the Obama administration will release updated enrollment figures for the Affordable Care Act's insurance exchanges next week but declined to specify how detailed that data would be or divulge an exact release date, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports.
Tavenner also would not say whether the data would be released as a lump number or as a breakdown showing the types of consumers who enrolled and how they enrolled (Easley, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 11/5).
When asked about how detailed the data would be during the daily media conference call, CMS spokesperson Julie Bataille sidestepped the question, but added, "We're focused on making sure we can provide reliable, accurate data in all our reports moving forward, so that's what we'll do."
During Tuesday's hearing, Tavenner reiterated HHS findings that more than 700,000 completed applications have been submitted through the federal and state-run exchanges since they opened on Oct. 1, "Healthwatch" reports. However, when officials announced that figure last month, they declined to clarify how many of those applications resulted in actual enrollments.
On Tuesday, Tavenner said HHS hopes to sign up as many as 800,000 people by the end of this month. The department later clarified that the figure includes consumers who will sign up for both private coverage and Medicaid coverage.
Data Likely To Be Short on Specifics, Offer First Indication of Rocky Rollout
According to "Healthwatch," the lack of detailed answers from officials suggests a possibility that the enrollment data will be released as one single number and omit specifics about how many people signed up for private insurance or Medicaid. The data also likely will not distinguish how many people enrolled through state exchanges versus the federal exchange.
The data will offer the first indication about whether the rocky rollout of the federal exchange created an enrollment lag. Administration officials have said that any enrollment setbacks over the past several weeks could be overcome in the remaining months of the open enrollment, which ends in March 2014 (Viebeck, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 11/5).
House Committee Chair Subpoenas CMS for Enrollment Data
Meanwhile, House Ways and Means Committee Chair Dave Camp (R-Mich.) on Tuesday issued a subpoena to CMS demanding that all data related to enrollment in the exchanges be provided by Friday, "Healthwatch" reports. Camp noted that he previously requested the data during a hearing last month but that the agency failed to comply with the request.
In a letter to Tavenner, Camp noted that administration officials have been provided with status reports on the enrollment figures but have refused to share them with lawmakers. He added, "Congress needs to know what you know so Congress ... can also take corrective action."
Camp said his committee has concerns that the tumultuous launch of the federal exchange might have prevented the administration from hitting enrollment targets for younger, healthier consumers, which could raise premiums for older, sicker consumers (Easley, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 11/5).
Further, Camp said the information is necessary to know how many people must enroll by the end of December to ensure they obtain coverage by Jan. 1. "Actual enrollment could lag projections by over one million people," he wrote. Citing the federal exchange's technical issues, he added, "There is no evidence this system is capable of handling this type of volume" (Morgan, Reuters, 11/5).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.