Uh oh: Only 5-15% of enrollees have paid their first month of premiums in some ObamaCare plans

posted at 12:11 pm on December 11, 2013 by Allahpundit

A good way to tell whether a media outlet is serious about ObamaCare reporting is to see if they cover this bombshell as a corollary to the new enrollment data. If 365,000 have “signed up” but only one-tenth of them, say, have paid their first month of premiums to activate their new coverage, how many people are really “enrolled” in ObamaCare plans right now?

Last week an insurer in Indiana told CNN that one of their plans had received payment from only 20 percent of people who signed up so far. According to Charles Ornstein’s sources, that insurer was doing relatively well.

“There is also a lot of worrying going on over people making payments,” industry consultant Robert Laszewski wrote in an email. “One client reports only 15% have paid so far. It is still too early to know for sure what this means but we should expect some enrollment slippage come the payment due date.”

Another consultant Kip Piper, agreed. “So far I’m hearing from health plans that around 5% and 10% of consumers who have made it through the data transfer gauntlet have paid first month’s premium and therefore truly enrolled,” he wrote me…

Blue Shield of California said it has sent out thousands of payment request letters…

While saying it is difficult to guess what will happen, Piper said he believes “a plan will be lucky if half of applicants pay first month’s premium on time for January coverage start but that perhaps three-quarters will pay in time for coverage start by February or March.”

My pal Karl pointed out on Twitter that Ezra Klein’s blog is describing the 365,000 sign-ups announced by HHS today as people who “have purchased private insurance.” Simply not true, and it’s no minor detail that it isn’t. Remember, per the CNN article last week, failing to pay by the deadline this month doesn’t necessarily mean that your coverage will take effect next month as soon as you finally pony up with your first premium. In some states, your enrollment is void if you don’t complete the purchase on time. That means you’ll have to re-enroll in January, which might be an easy process or might not be depending upon whether Healthcare.gov can handle the growing traffic load and whether insurers are buried under a mountain of backlogged applications, some of them with errors that require correction.

I’m frankly surprised that HHS hasn’t started ringing alarm bells about the nonpayment problem in order to try to mitigate it. I can only assume, as with so much else, that that’s a political decision made at the expense of a policy one. The more they start screaming about paying on time, the more the media will start focusing on this as the next landmine to detonate, replete with another look at how pricey some of America’s new “affordable” coverage is. Better to keep quiet, let people not pay, and then seek some form of “fix” next month in which HHS covers the first month of payments for new enrollees in return for repayment at a later date. Or maybe the easier fix would be for the King to proclaim that no enrollments will be voided in the event of nonpayment. They’ll simply be suspended until payment is tendered. That would reduce the logistical complexity of all this — a little — but I don’t know how insurers will replace the missing revenue in January from all those delayed premiums. Maybe that’s where Uncle Sam and “risk corridors” come in.

Elsewhere in ObamaCare chaos news, go read this USA Today report from Monday about how the new and allegedly improved Healthcare.gov is telling some people who make $80,000 a year that they qualify for Medicaid. When those people call the O-Care hotline, the operators tell them that whatever the website says must be correct. Will those poor saps be sprung from limbo in time to enroll before the deadline? Stay tuned.

Update: Sebelius was asked about this at today’s House hearing. Quote:

Burgess: What if that patient doesn’t make the premium payment? You said they’re covered Dec. 23, but they never write the check. They never make the payment.

Sebelius: Then they’re not covered. They are not enrolled, and at every point along the way, on the website they are told until they make the payment—


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The Adults are in charge.

Del Dolemonte on December 11, 2013 at 1:22 PM

Interesting. There are more whites on EBT/food stamps than all the minorities combined but that usually eludes the anti minority tea partiers doesn’t it?

loveofcountry on December 11, 2013 at 12:52 PM

There are more whites in prison than all other minorities combined but that usually eludes the race-baiters, doesn’t it?

BobMbx on December 11, 2013 at 1:22 PM

Side topic…..

Oh Dear GOD.

MontanaMmmm on December 11, 2013 at 1:10 PM

Coming soon to a HA thread near you.

And yes, Oh Dear GOD!

Happy Nomad on December 11, 2013 at 1:24 PM

The Mass Obamacare website is closed for business for 15 hours starting today at 2pm. LOL

http://bostonherald.com/business/healthcare/2013/12/state_s_obamacare_website_down_for_scheduled_maintenance

Wigglesworth on December 11, 2013 at 1:25 PM

Sebelius: Then they’re not covered. They are not enrolled, and at every point along the way, on the website they are told until they make the payment—

They can read all that on the 404 page? Or is that on the wall in the virtual waiting room?

Gatsu on December 11, 2013 at 1:26 PM

So if a student “signs up” for Libfree’s class but doesn’t pay tuition to start the semester, is it really a “sign up”?

oldroy on December 11, 2013 at 1:19 PM

With Libfree, it all depends on the race of the moocher.

Happy Nomad on December 11, 2013 at 1:26 PM

Interesting. There are more whites on EBT/food stamps than all the minorities combined but that usually eludes the anti minority tea partiers doesn’t it?

loveofcountry on December 11, 2013 at 12:52 PM

There are more whites working at NASA, Google, General Dynamics, Langley, Foggy Bottom, and Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux than there are minority Ph.D.s in the entire country but that usually eludes those minorities that don’t want to be perceived as “acting white” at school.

M240H on December 11, 2013 at 1:31 PM

Happy Nomad on December 11, 2013 at 1:24 PM

I’m sure they realize that is considered to be (Holy) unacceptable. Hymns really!

MontanaMmmm on December 11, 2013 at 1:32 PM

Santa Penguin. Slick reference to another article. At least you’re not raaaaaacist!

HiJack on December 11, 2013 at 12:55 PM

I don’t know about that. Isn’t our president half black, half white? I think Cindy is using a dog whistle.

NotCoach on December 11, 2013 at 12:57 PM

I guess you didn’t read the article about changing Santa Claus, then.

HiJack on December 11, 2013 at 1:42 PM

Santa Penguin. Slick reference to another article. At least you’re not raaaaaacist!

HiJack on December 11, 2013 at 12:55 PM

I don’t know about that. Isn’t our president half black, half white? I think Cindy is using a dog whistle.

NotCoach on December 11, 2013 at 12:57 PM

I guess you didn’t read the article about changing Santa Claus, then.

HiJack on December 11, 2013 at 1:42 PM

It was in Headlines this morning but has now moved off the front page.

http://hotair.com/headlines/archives/2013/12/11/santa-claus-shouldnt-be-a-white-man-anymore/#comments

Del Dolemonte on December 11, 2013 at 1:44 PM

I guess you didn’t read the article about changing Santa Claus, then.

HiJack on December 11, 2013 at 1:42 PM

Yeah, my comments on that thread were made by my evil twin transvestite.

NotCoach on December 11, 2013 at 1:46 PM

No, no, no. You forget the Obama reverse Midas touch. When he says you can keep something it’s a lie or incorrect. So saying “If you like your President, you can keep your President. Period.” means Obama won’t be around much longer.

NotCoach on December 11, 2013 at 12:34 PM

That’s true, but only if Obama says it.

HiJack on December 11, 2013 at 1:51 PM

The short answer on the lack of enrollees, the lack of young healthy enrollees, and the lack of payment from enrollees is: disaster.

It’s a health care disaster because of those who will have lost their coverage and not been able to replace it, but it’s also a fiscal disaster from the lack of enrollees and payments.

It’s supposed to “pay for itself” with the inflated premiums from young and healthy enrollees, fines on the noncompliant, and the money transferred from Medicare. To do that, in the optimistic estimation of the Obama Administration, they needed 7 million to enroll through exchanges, and at least 2.7 million of those to be young, healthy people.

Without ALL of those conditions met AT LEAST, we are talking massive waves of red ink – tens of billions a year, perhaps more – with no end in sight.

It’s a massive FAIL.

Adjoran on December 11, 2013 at 2:09 PM

nteresting. There are more whites on EBT/food stamps than all the minorities combined but that usually eludes the anti minority tea partiers doesn’t it?

loveofcountry on December 11, 2013 at 12:52 PM

You lie as always liberal scum… Here are the statistics about welfare…

http://www.statisticbrain.com/welfare-statistics/

Welfare Demographics
Percent of recipients who are white 38.8 %
Percent of recipients who are black 39.8 %
Percent of recipients who are Hispanic 15.7 %
Percent of recipients who are Asian 2.4 %
Percent of recipients who are Other 3.3 %

Remember that blacks are 13% of the population but they are 39.8% of the welfare recipient while white are 74% of the population and they are 38.8% of the welfare recipients…

mnjg on December 11, 2013 at 2:12 PM

There are more whites in prison than all other minorities combined but that usually eludes the race-baiters, doesn’t it?

BobMbx on December 11, 2013 at 1:22 PM

Wrong… You people sh*t in your pants when someone accuse you of racism rather than hit them back hard with the truth… Blacks are 39.4% of the inmates and Hispanics are 20.6% of the inmates so both of them combined are 60% of the total inmates i.e. a majority.. Blacks are only 13.6% of the populations and Hispanics are 16.3% of the population… In other word 29.9% of the population make 60% of the total inmates…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incarceration_in_the_United_States

According to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) non-Hispanic blacks accounted for 39.4% of the total prison and jail population in 2009 (841,000 black males and 64,800 black females out of a total of 2,096,300 males and 201,200 females).[41] According to the 2010 census of the US Census Bureau blacks (including Hispanic blacks) comprised 13.6% of the US population.[42][43][44]
Hispanics (of all races) were 20.6% of the total jail and prison population in 2009.[41] Hispanics comprised 16.3% of the US population according to the 2010 US census.[42][45] The Northeast has the highest incarceration rates of Hispanics in the nation.[46] Connecticut has the highest Hispanic-to-White ratio with 6.6 Hispanic males for every white male. The National Average Hispanic-to-White ratio is 1.8. Other states with high Hispanic-to-White ratios include Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and New York.[47]

mnjg on December 11, 2013 at 2:22 PM

I predicted this.

It was obvious.

Because the people who are signing up are the most sick and most poor, therefore it stands to reason they’ll probably miss payments because they’re not good at managing their finances or health to begin with. The economy is hideous for everyone, except for those at the top.

fatlibertarianinokc on December 11, 2013 at 2:23 PM

In other word 29.9% of the population make 60% of the total inmates…

29.9 percent of the population commits 60 percent of the crime. Good thing there are prisons.

Kuffar on December 11, 2013 at 4:18 PM

mnjg on December 11, 2013 at 2:22 PM

So minorities do commit the majority of crimes.

Good to know. And thanks for pointing that out.

Oh…and for doing so, you’re a racist. Welcome to the club.

BobMbx on December 11, 2013 at 4:35 PM

Interesting. There are more whites on EBT/food stamps than all the minorities combined but that usually eludes the anti minority tea partiers doesn’t it?

loveofcountry on December 11, 2013 at 12:52 PM

Wow, a country that is 64% non-Hispanic white has a food-stamp population that is at least 50% non-Hispanic white?

Got any more mathematical bombshells for us today?

The Schaef on December 11, 2013 at 4:54 PM

So let’s see- 5 million plus have had their policies cancelled, and 5-15% of the fraction of the 365k that didn’t go onto medicaid (medicare?) have actually successfully paid for their first month of coverage. And even that 5-15% is suspect, given the ocean of lies this steaming pile of legislation is floating on.

So we’re looking at over 4.9 million people LESS that have insurance now that obamacare has arrived to make sure everyone has insurance.

Heckuva job there, Earflaps McSpendypants. Rot in hell, you dumb#ss selfie taking bracket filler.

GrassMudHorsey on December 11, 2013 at 8:51 PM

BobMbx on December 11, 2013 at 4:35 PM

You might want to consider fading away while you still have a patch or two of skin left.

VorDaj on December 11, 2013 at 8:54 PM

Or maybe the easier fix would be for the King to proclaim that no enrollments will be voided in the event of nonpayment. They’ll simply be suspended until payment is tendered.

Congratulations, you’ve just made the “open enrollment period” last all year round. Just what we need to make sure no “young invincibles” ever sign up for health insurance.

IOW, bad idea. Which doesn’t mean Obama won’t try it, but bad idea.

Greg Q on December 11, 2013 at 9:51 PM

…it’s not free?

KOOLAID2 on December 11, 2013 at 10:03 PM

[....]because they’re not good at managing their finances or health to begin with.
fatlibertarianinokc on December 11, 2013 at 2:23 PM

Wanna try that again eh?

Lots of ill people have genetic problems no matter how good they take care of themselves… sheesh…

You are a tad bit pompous matey…chill with the blame game.

Scrumpy on December 11, 2013 at 10:13 PM

The bureaucracy tasked with Obamacare implementation may be violating a law that requires government agencies to keep private information safe.

Under the the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), the Department of Health and Human Services’ Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is required to have an “Authority to Operate,” or ATO. In order to receive an ATO, new information tech systems must perform a set of tests, including “Security Control Assessments” (SCA).

But according to CMS’s 2014 budget request, no such security assessment took place. The Federal Healthcare Marketplace website was rolled out without full end­-to­-end testing.

… Cue Judas Priest .. “Breaking The Law”

So much for the golden future, I can’t even start
I’ve had every promise broken, there’s anger in my heart
You don’t know what its like, you don’t have a clue
If you did you’d find yourselves doing the same thing too

Breaking the law, breaking the law
Breaking the law, breaking the law
Breaking the law, breaking the law
Breaking the law, breaking the law

You don’t know what its like

J_Crater on December 12, 2013 at 6:38 AM

Krauthammer is correct. Too many conservatives are talking over the heads of the American people, including yesterday’s testimony w Madam Sebelius.

Call it the “cash register.” There is no Obamacare cash register. People cannot pay for their selected insurance if there is no cash register.

matthew8787 on December 12, 2013 at 9:02 AM

That means, as explained by Sebelius, that only 5 – 15% of those people are TRULY signed up for Obamacare. According to her, it ain’t official until they send in the check. The numbers of Americans who have signed up for Obamacare should be amended to reflect this, drastically reducing the number of Americans who have REALLY ‘signed up’.

easyt65 on December 12, 2013 at 10:23 AM

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