GOP Committee Members Seek Federal Exchange Enrollee Data
Republican leaders on the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday sent letters to every insurer with health plans on the Affordable Care Act's federal exchange requesting detailed information on enrollees, the Wall Street Journal's "Washington Wire" reports (Radnofsky, "Washington Wire," Wall Street Journal, 3/13).
The lawmakers are seeking information specifically about the number of enrollees who have paid their first month's premiums (Ethridge, CQ Roll Call, 3/13). Such data are key in determining how many individuals actually have gained coverage and benefit from the law.
On Tuesday, during a House Ways and Means Committee hearing, Sebelius was asked about providing such information. However, she said HHS still did not have the information. Sebelius said the department receives "aggregate data" from insurers about who has paid, but that data is not detailed enough to offer the information the lawmakers were seeking.
Sebelius added that HHS could not obtain the detailed payment data until its exchange technology system can perform automatic accounting, which likely would not be completed until this summer. She declined to say whether she has requested more detailed information from insurers (California Healthline, 3/13).
According to "Washington Wire," Republicans have suggested that HHS' recent announcement that 4.2 million people have obtained coverage in health plans through the ACA's exchanges could be inflated and inaccurate. They argue that there are no data to show that those people have paid their premiums ("Washington Wire," Wall Street Journal, 3/13).
Details of Letters
The lawmakers' letters to the insurers asked for several other specific details, including:
- Enrollees' ages;
- The number of people who were uninsured prior to enrolling in plans (Viebeck, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 3/13);
- The number of people who are enrolled in plans, but have not paid their first month's premiums;
- The number of individual and family plans that have been sold;
- The number of enrollees who qualified for federal subsidies to offset premium costs; and
- The number of people who purchased new plans even when they already had coverage from that insurer.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said the information will help provide a more accurate assessment of the law's and the exchange's progress.
Reps. Joe Barton (Texas), Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.), Michael Burgess (Texas), Tim Murphy (Pa.) and Joe Pitts (Pa.) joined Upton in signing the letters (CQ Roll Call, 3/13).
Democrat Pushes for Open Enrollment Extension in State Exchanges
In related news, Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) on Wednesday introduced legislation (HR 4120) that would extend the open enrollment period by one month -- to the end of April -- in states that are operating their insurance exchanges under the ACA, The Hill's "Floor Action" reports.
Schrader unveiled the measure one day after Sebelius reiterated that the administration will not extend the open enrollment period beyond March 31. He said the bill would give states with problem-plagued exchanges -- such as his home-state of Oregon -- more time for residents to enroll in coverage (Kasperowicz, "Floor Action," The Hill, 3/13).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.