As of April 15, data presented by insurance providers in the Affordable Care Act’s Federally Facilitated Marketplace show that slightly more than two-thirds (67 percent) of Americans who signed up for insurance have paid their first monthly premium, and so, have completed the process. The House Energy and Commerce Committee sent letters requesting specific enrollment data in order to provide a snapshot of final enrollment as of April 15, 2014, the official end of the open enrollment period.
In a state-by-state breakdown of data representing all 160 insurance providers in the federal marketplace, the seven states with the highest percentage of fully paid-up enrollees are Arkansas (88 percent), South Dakota and Kansas (both 87 percent), New Jersey (86 percent), Iowa (84 percent), Missouri (82 percent), and Pennsylvania (81 percent). Meanwhile, the seven states with the least percentage of fully-paid up enrollees are Texas (42 percent), Oklahoma (48 percent), Illinois (52 percent), Mississippi (54 percent), Michigan (55 percent), Louisiana (59 percent), and South Carolina (61 percent). All but one of these seven states with the lowest percentage of paid enrollees rank within the bottom half of states when categorized by per capita income.
Interestingly, both Arkansas and Texas, with the highest and lowest percentage of paid-up enrollees, respectively, are Republican-leaning states.
ABC News reported that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has challenged the validity of these numbers, stating the committee collected data from only half the insurers on the federal marketplace, and on top of that, insurance executives themselves have said the percentage of paid-up enrollees is higher. WellPoint CEO Joe Swedish, ABC noted, said that about 90 percent of people enrolling in WellPoint plans paid their premiums, while in January Cigna CEO David Cordani was quoted as saying about 75 to 80 percent of people had paid.
In a press conference earlier this month, President Obama stated that eight million people had signed up for health insurance in the federally run marketplace, while 35 percent were under the age of 35. Due to the many deadline extensions and changes, the House Energy and Commerce Committee plans to ask the insurers to provide an enrollment update by May 20, 2014. Considering the importance of the Affordable Care Act to the Obama administration, it appears unusual that HHS itself has not provided numbers on the percentage of people who have completed enrollment by paying their first premium.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee is a bipartisan assembly of congressional representatives charged with oversight of the nation's telecommunications, consumer protection, food and drug safety, public health research, environmental quality, energy policy, and interstate and foreign commerce.