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In a House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations subcommittee hearing this morning, a major health insurance trade association representative testified that the administration is reporting inflated enrollment numbers.

According to their testimony:

“Duplicate enrollments: Because of the challenges that surfaced with the launch of the Exchanges in October 2013, some consumers were advised to create a new account and enroll again. As a result, insurers have many duplicate enrollments in their system for which they never received any payment. In cases where an insurer has a new enrollment for a consumer who previously enrolled, they are not expecting that original policy to be effectuated – even though that data is still reported.”

In other words, due to website glitches, some individuals may have enrolled multiple times. In these cases, the government may count all of these enrollments toward the total enrollment number. The insurer, knowing that the individual enrolled multiple times, will count that individual as having paid.

For example, if there are three people with one enrollment each and one person with two enrollments, the government will report this as five total enrollments. If the first three people paid for each of their policies and the fourth person paid for one policy, the insurer will report 100 percent payment. In this way, the government numbers may be further overstating enrollments.

If there was any suspicion that the administration was intentionally reporting shady enrollment numbers — by not reporting who has actually paid and not reporting who was previously uninsured — this revelation should confirm those suspicions. It is time for the Obama administration to come clean on enrollment numbers.

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