IBD has an interesting piece today on how, despite optimistic White House spin, Obamacare signups slowed to a crawl after early January. Sign-ups could surge again as the March 31 deadline approaches, but there’s another problem buried just beneath the surface. It turns out that Health Care dot gov is just like Kayak, Amazon, or any other website you use to buy something…and then not pay for it.
We’re in mid-February now — well past any payment deadlines for the rush of people who enrolled before January 1 — and only about half of those who signed up for Obamacare plans in Washington State have paid their first month’s premium — which means only half of those are actually enrolled. (For the record, Washington uses the proper terminology for “enrollments,” but other states and the White House have been reporting sign-ups as if they were enrollments.)
If at first that seems like a possible outlier, here’s a similar story from Wisconsin:
MADISON (WKOW) — Wisconsin Deputy Insurance Commissioner Dan Schwartzer says only about half of the 40,752 state residents that signed up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act have paid their premiums and are currently receiving coverage.
I didn’t expect this to be such a huge issue, but apparently it is. In addition to those two states with very low rates of payment — one using its own exchange, and the other using the federal exchange — the IBD piece also mentions Nevada. The Silver State had about 15,000 sign-ups, but only 66 percent paid – well below the 80 percent that industry expert and Obamacare critic Robert Laszewski had expected.