By Elise Viebeck - 11/08/13 01:27 PM EST
Only five people have officially enrolled in health coverage on Washington, D.C.'s ObamaCare exchange, according to a survey by two leading GOP senators.
Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), ranking members of the Finance and Justice Committees, reported the number Friday after corresponding with the four health insurance companies offering policies on D.C. Health Link.
The five official enrollees reported by the insurers underscore the heavy lift facing ObamaCare officials as they seek to sign up millions of people for the next exchanges over the next four-and-a-half months.
D.C.'s number also shed light on confusion surrounding what counts as an official ObamaCare enrollment — an issue that will come up next week as the administration publishes its first set of enrollment data.
The District's marketplace is not transmitting enrollment files to insurance companies until the applicants pay their first premium, a representative for Aetna wrote to Hatch and Grassley on Thursday.
This suggests that there are others within the enrollment system who have chosen and even signed up for plans but are not counted as enrollees because they have not submitted their first payment yet.
This is corroborated by an Oct. 21 data release by D.C. Health Link saying that 1,894 people had completed the online application for health coverage, 321 had selected a plan and 164 had asked for their first invoice.
Despite these numbers, however, the marketplace's four companies reported only 5 enrollees.
Two came from CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield and three came from Kaiser Permanente as of the end of October, the companies said.
The other two insurers — Aetna and UnitedHealthcare — said that they had not processed any enrollments from the D.C. marketplaces as of Oct. 24 and Nov. 4, respectively.
Richard Sorian, communications director for the D.C. exchange, released a statement calling the report "misleading and inaccurate."
"Such information is an inaccurate depiction of the strong level of interest by the residents and business owners of the District of Columbia in obtaining quality, competitively priced health insurance," Sorian said.
"Our data show that District residents and small business owners are doing exactly what we hoped they would do — they are taking time to research their options and make decisions about health insurance that are sensible for themselves."
D.C.'s marketplace is not attached to the federal government and not run through the troubled HealthCare.gov website.
—This post was updated at 8:10 p.m.