Sorry GOP, Most Americans Are Paying Their Obamacare Bills On Time
The latest Republican attack on Obamacare has just been debunked.
A high percentage of enrollees in the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama's signature health-care-reform law, have paid their bills on time, health-insurance companies say. That adds legitimacy to the administration's claim that more than 8 million people have signed up for Obamacare, debunking a recent GOP survey -- meant to shoot holes in the administration's numbers -- which suggested that a large percentage of that 8 million still hadn't paid for insurance.
WellPoint, one of the largest U.S. insurers, said that, of the people who signed up for plans through Obamacare's exchanges during the first enrollment period, up to 90 percent have paid their bills on time. The company released this data in testimony prepared for a Congressional hearing on Wednesday.
"We are seeing strong membership growth and large percentages of our newly enrolled customers are successfully paying their premiums by the due date," Dennis Matheis, who is responsible for WellPoint's exchange strategy, wrote in the testimony. WellPoint sells insurance under several brands, including its own, Anthem Blue Cross, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Empire BlueCross BlueShield, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia.
An Aetna executive will testify that a little more than 80 percent of that company's Obamacare customers have paid their bills by their due date.
Paul Wingle, Aetna's executive director of individual business and public exchange operations and strategy, explained that some enrollees -- for instance, those whose plans have an effective date of June 1 -- haven't paid their bills because they aren't due yet.
Insurers also warn that some of the more than 8 million people the administration claims have enrolled in Obamacare might be duplicates. Still, these numbers directly contradict a survey the GOP used last week to advance its claim that people who had signed up for insurance under the ACE weren't paying for it. That survey, which found that only 67 percent of enrollees had paid their first premiums, ignored that payment deadlines hadn't yet passed for all new enrollees.
"The survey was so incredibly rigged to produce this result, it was a joke," an unnamed person who works for a company surveyed by the GOP told Talking Points Memo last week. Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist, also called the survey "rigged."
When asked to comment on the GOP survey, Matt Wiggin, a spokesperson from Aetna, said the company's testimony speaks for itself. A representative from WellPoint did not immediately respond to the Huffington Post's request for comment.
Hat tip: Bloomberg, New York Times