How many ObamaCare enrollees have paid for coverage?

posted at 3:21 pm on February 12, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

The White House and its supporters have begun bragging that the ObamaCare system has started to function as planned, with sign-ups increasing as the deadlines approach for the individual mandate deadline. But how many of those sign-ups turned into actual enrollments through the payment of the premium? As it turns out, not nearly as many as the top-line numbers suggest:

While the number of states reporting this information is small, they actually make up a good chunk of Obamacare’s currently accepted 3 million nationwide enrollment total. According to the Obama administration’s most recent detailed report on enrollment data, these five states — New York, California, Washington state, Nevada and Rhode Island — account for a third.

California’s exchange last reported that three-fourths of its reported enrollees had paid their first premiums, according to California Healthline; Washington’s totals released Tuesday indicate that only 51 percent have purchased their plans.

New York’s numbers are fuzzier, since the exchange itself doesn’t separate applications for Medicaid and private plans. It counts 412,221 enrollments for public and private coverage (just 251,000 are private plans), but notes that another 697,000 customers have completed applications on the exchange website. If the entire 421,221 have paid (or accepted the low- to no-cost Medicaid coverage), New York’s payment rate is only 59 percent.

Nevada’s payment rate is just 66 percent — 14,999 out of 22,597 so far — and Rhode Island has by far the best total, with 14,086 paid customers out of 16,512, for a payment rate of 85 percent.

Those numbers aren’t much improved from a month ago, when industry expert Bob Laszewski estimated the payment figure at 50%. The federal system’s back end for dealing with those issues is still missing in action, too, which means it’s going to be even more problematic. We’re about a month out from the big deadline for the April 1 cutoff for enforcement, and at the very best, we can say that the signup-to-paid ratio isn’t improving by much, if at all.

That may be a surprise to Laszewski, who predicted an 80% clearance rate by this time, which only Rhode Island appears to be achieving. He also noted a multitude of issues in the federal system still awaiting resolution:

Last fall I said that I thought it would be late January or early February before Healthcare.gov would generally be fixed.

Boy, was I wrong.

The to-do list still includes:

  • Problems with the government sending enrollment transactions to the carriers––the 834s––that are still having error rates much too high for high volume processing.
  • The inability of the government to do an automated enrollment reconciliation with the carriers––to be able to sort out who really is covered and who is not––because that system still hasn’t been built.
  • The inability of the government to pay carriers because that system hasn’t been built––carriers are sending estimated bills to the feds.
  • The inability of the government to add and delete people from the system for things like a newborn or a divorce because that system hasn’t been built yet.
  • The inability of the government to handle appeals when people think their eligibility or subsidy calculation is wrong because that system hasn’t been built yet.
  • The inability of the government to cancel people off of Healthcare.gov because they never built that functionality. As a result, I expect they will be reporting bloated enrollment numbers for some time.

At least two carriers have told me that because the government can’t cancel people off the system, it the person shows up next month they can’t reenroll on Healthcare.gov because the government can’t get the old enrollment off the system.

What kind of progress is being made in Minnesota, where the MNSure administrator ended up getting fired over its launch failures? Investors Business Daily offers a look, and it’s not pretty:

Minnesota’s exchange enrollment goal of 67,000 seemed within reach on Jan. 4, when signups stood at 25,860.

But after surging by more than 4,000 per week in the prior five weeks, signups collapsed back to November’s pace of less than 700 per week. …

Only 21% of signups were in the key 18-34 demographic vs. 35% ages 55 to 64. Minnesota officials have been taken by surprise at the share of people signing up for ObamaCare’s richest “platinum” coverage, which reimburses 90% of the covered group’s qualifying expenses.

Fully 29% have signed up for low-deductible platinum policies — compared to a projection of 5%. Such policies would tend to be favored by people who want to guard against high medical expenses, while someone expecting minimal costs might go for a high-deductible bronze plan.

In fact, the shortfall of sign-ups — let alone actual enrollments — threatens to create a budget crisis:

Enrollment is currently at 92,000, which is still way short of their goals by for enrollment prior to March 31. The worry is if they don’t have enough people paying into MNsure, it won’t be sustainable and they’ll have to ask the legislature for more money.

Minnesota lawmakers have warned leaders of MNsure that they must figure out budget needs soon as insurance enrollment trends point to a 2015 deficit. MNsure must give lawmakers a proposed 2015 budget by March 15.

The 92,000 figure includes the Medicaid enrollments through the system, too.  The problem is in the lack of private-insurance enrollments, and it’s going to be a huge problem for the state legislature, which is already strapped for funds as it is.

Guy Benson hits the numbers:

This portends two separate risk pool problems. First, not enough young and healthy people are signing up — a trend that has been well established for some time. Minnesota’s 21 percent figure is nearly identical to what health insurer Humana is reporting in its nationwide risk pool so far — and roughly half of the administration’s initial goal within this demographic. Second, a surprisingly high number of enrollees are selecting “platinum” plans, indicating that they anticipate incurring high levels of annual medical expenses and are looking to minimize out-of-pocket costs. Add these two together, and you’re staring at an adverse selection problem, which may result in larger taxpayer bailouts of on-the-hook insurers.

Also take note of the paltry payment rate of “enrollees” in Washington State so far … Washington has a payment rate of just 50 percent, with Nevada sitting at 66 percent. Both states are far off pace to hit their 2014 targets, even counting unpaid “enrollments.”

Be sure to read it all.


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Budget crisis looms for MNSure.

Budget crises looms for the State of Kentucky as our stupid Democrat Governor jumped on board with this mess and we now have an extra 80,000 Medicaid enrollees in five months. And the Federal money will start slowly drying up in 2018. We are screwed.

Johnnyreb on February 12, 2014 at 3:25 PM

You mean we have to delay it again???…

PatriotRider on February 12, 2014 at 3:26 PM

It’s a lemon….

sorrowen on February 12, 2014 at 3:26 PM

Budget crises looms for the State of Kentucky as our stupid Democrat Governor jumped on board with this mess and we now have an extra 80,000 Medicaid enrollees in five months. And the Federal money will start slowly drying up in 2018. We are screwed.

Johnnyreb on February 12, 2014 at 3:25 PM

Can’t Kentucky contract Medicaid eligibility as federal money stops showing up?

cptacek on February 12, 2014 at 3:28 PM

We’re about a month out from the big deadline for the April 1 cutoff for enforcement

Ha, you made me chuckle there Ed. That word isn’t in the Obama playbook.

fogw on February 12, 2014 at 3:28 PM

At this rate Obamacares own worst enemy is Obama himself.

sorrowen on February 12, 2014 at 3:30 PM

How many ObamaCare enrollees have paid for coverage?

Hasn’t the EO directing the IRS to ARREST anyone who says they didn’t pay come out yet?

Oh … maybe that’s one of tomorrow’s EO’s!

HondaV65 on February 12, 2014 at 3:34 PM

But how many of those sign-ups turned into actual enrollments through the payment of the premium?


Not to worry
… the Treasury will notify the IRS to garnish the wages of anyone who created a login on Healthcare.gov but doesn’t show up in the insurance companies list of payees.

Before anyone starts sputtering objections … WHO is going to stop them from going down that path?

That chill down your spine isn’t from winter.

PolAgnostic on February 12, 2014 at 3:40 PM

At this rate Obamacares own worst enemy is Obama himself.

sorrowen on February 12, 2014 at 3:30 PM

Don’t worry – the establishment GOP will be in control by 2016 and “fix” ObamaCare.

redguy on February 12, 2014 at 3:42 PM

Can’t Kentucky contract Medicaid eligibility as federal money stops showing up?

cptacek on February 12, 2014 at 3:28 PM

If even one person who was receiving Medicaid were to be dropped from the program there would literally be wolves at the door of the Governors Mansion. The media here which is about 75% liberal would tear that person to bits in short order and any future public service they had contemplated would be over before it even happened.

The current governor doesn’t care one bit as this is his last term due to term limits.

In short, no one is going to be dropped once they qualify, and it is going to get ugly in about 5-6 years.

Johnnyreb on February 12, 2014 at 3:43 PM

Not to worry … the Treasury will notify the IRS to garnish the wages of anyone who created a login on Healthcare.gov but doesn’t show up in the insurance companies list of payees.

Before anyone starts sputtering objections … WHO is going to stop them from going down that path?

That chill down your spine isn’t from winter.

PolAgnostic on February 12, 2014 at 3:40 PM

Honestly that would not surprise me in the least to hear that’s not far off the mark. After all, you put a plan in the cart, must mean you wanted it!

Gatsu on February 12, 2014 at 3:44 PM

MeanWhile, ……………………………..

Obama health care law
25m
Obamacare enrollment hits 3.3 million, beating January sign-up projections – @sarahkliff
see original on twitter.com
============================

20m
Young adult enrollment in ObamaCare is still shy of goals – budged upwards from 24% of population last month to 25% including January sign-ups. Goal: 40% – @sarahkliff

canopfor on February 12, 2014 at 3:46 PM

Reality must really suck if you’re a liberal.

Ta111 on February 12, 2014 at 3:47 PM

MeanWhile,..Part Deux:
======================

https://twitter.com/sarahkliff

Sarah Kliff ‏@sarahkliff 24m

CMS had projected 1,059,900 people would enroll in January. 1,146,071 people actually did. pic.twitter.com/d4h71IPpIt

https://twitter.com/sarahkliff/status/433697357545234433/photo/1/large

canopfor on February 12, 2014 at 3:48 PM

Results for #healthpolicyvalentines

https://twitter.com/search?q=%23healthpolicyvalentines&src=hash

canopfor on February 12, 2014 at 3:49 PM

New York’s numbers are fuzzier, since the exchange itself doesn’t separate applications for Medicaid and private plans.

LOL.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on February 12, 2014 at 3:49 PM

If even one person who was receiving Medicaid were to be dropped from the program there would literally be wolves at the door of the Governors Mansion. The media here which is about 75% liberal would tear that person to bits in short order and any future public service they had contemplated would be over before it even happened.

The current governor doesn’t care one bit as this is his last term due to term limits.

In short, no one is going to be dropped once they qualify, and it is going to get ugly in about 5-6 years.

Johnnyreb on February 12, 2014 at 3:43 PM

So objectively yes, but politically no.

cptacek on February 12, 2014 at 3:50 PM

Funny

Schadenfreude on February 12, 2014 at 3:51 PM

Wow! THREE million signed up. That’s almost equal to the FIVE million who had their policies canceled.

Way to go Obama!

GarandFan on February 12, 2014 at 3:52 PM

The White House and its supporters have begun bragging that the ObamaCare system has started to function as planned
============================================

Ya,….so was the Death Star, in Star Wars too!!
(sarc)

canopfor on February 12, 2014 at 3:53 PM

Wow! THREE million signed up. That’s almost equal to the FIVE million who had their policies canceled.

Way to go Obama!

GarandFan on February 12, 2014 at 3:52 PM

GarandFan: Salutey,…*Clink*:)

canopfor on February 12, 2014 at 3:55 PM

It’s a lemon….

sorrowen on February 12, 2014 at 3:26 PM

Good call, now if we just had a lemon law in this country, wait……what?

antipc on February 12, 2014 at 3:56 PM

Porksters from the right

Schadenfreude on February 12, 2014 at 4:00 PM

“The White House and its supporters have begun planning a nuclear strike in an American city for Oct.

docflash on February 12, 2014 at 4:02 PM

I went online and was able to sign up for the Death Panel in short order. My ‘coverage’ will be paid for via my donating my protoplasm to Solyndra Green…

vnvet on February 12, 2014 at 4:07 PM

Well this is unexpected.

HumpBot Salvation on February 12, 2014 at 4:12 PM

I always said all they want is to build a database. If you sign up for this you will be right on their radar. They can seize your house or bank account.

crankyoldlady on February 12, 2014 at 4:25 PM

How many ObamaCare enrollees have paid for coverage?

What difference, at this point, does it make? Boehner and McConnell along with the Dems will ensure that Obamacare gets all the debt-producing funding it needs. Ted Cruz, after all, is the devil for insisting on fiscal responsibility.

That pretty much sums up the situation so long as the surrender weasels are in charge. But, I’m sure HA will continue to push the fat bastard from New Jersey as the only legitimate candidate for the GOP. HA certainly hasn’t been fair to Cruz and the Tea Party positions. More often than not the threads attack these ideas as crazy since it doesn’t support legalizing pot, giving amnesty to illegals, and declaring sodomy a legitimate lifestyle choice. Fiscal responsibility is so dull when you can get excited over the “rights” of homosexuals, I guess.

Happy Nomad on February 12, 2014 at 4:36 PM

Ed –
You mean the websites aren’t working perfectly on day one two three four five six seven eight nine ten eleven twelve thirteen fourteen fifteen sixteen seventeen eighteen nineteen twenty twenty-one twenty-two twenty-three twenty-four twenty-five twenty-six twenty-seven twenty-eight twenty-nine thirty thirty-one thirty-two thirty-three thirty-four thirty-five thirty-six thirty-seven thirty-eight thirty-nine forty forty-one forty-two forty-three forty-four forty-five forty-six forty-seven forty-eight forty-nine fifty fifty-one fifty-two fifty-three fifty-four fifty-five fifty-six fifty-seven fifty-eight fifty-nine sixty sixty-one sixty-two sixty-three sixty-four sixty-five sixty-six sixty-seven sixty-eight sixty-nine seventy seventy-one seventy-two seventy-three seventy-four seventy-five seventy-six seventy-seven seventy-eight seventy-nine eighty eighty-one eighty-two eighty-three eighty-four eighty-five eighty-six eighty-seven eighty-eight eighty-nine ninety ninety-one ninety-two ninety-three ninety-four ninety-five ninety-six ninety-seven ninety-eight ninety-nine one hundred one hundred one one hundred two one hundred three one hundred four one hundred five one hundred six one hundred seven one hundred eight one hundred nine one hundred ten one hundred eleven one hundred twelve one hundred thirteen one hundred fourteen one hundred fifteen one hundred sixteen one hundred seventeen one hundred eighteen one hundred nineteen one hundred twenty one hundred twenty-one one hundred twenty-two one hundred twenty-three one hundred twenty-four one hundred twenty-five one hundred twenty-six one hundred twenty-seven one hundred twenty-eight one hundred twenty-nine one hundred thirty one hundred thirty-one one hundred thirty-two one hundred thirty-three one hundred thirty-four one hundred thirty-five
verbaluce on October 1, 2013 at 10:18 AM

(H/T NotCoach)

Details, details.

There Goes the Neighborhood on February 12, 2014 at 6:36 PM

Normally, I lean towards the edge of paranoia when it comes to personal data. There are no two web-based sites where my login is the same, up to and including email addresses.

But this is about healthcare, right? How can anyone be afraid to enter their personal, private, identifying information through a security-free, glitch-prone, incomplete, mismanaged web system into a database held by the Executive Branch, overseen by a political appointee, and available to the IRS, Treasury, Homeland Security, and basically every hacker on the planet?

What are you worried about?

Freelancer on February 13, 2014 at 3:28 PM