By Jonathan Easley - 03/31/14 04:24 PM EDT
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Monday cited insurance company estimates that say between 80 and 90 percent of those who have selected a plan under ObamaCare have completed the critical final step of making a first premium payment.
“What we know from insurance companies ... tell us that, for their initial customers, it's somewhere between 80, 85, some say as high as 90 percent, have paid so far,” Sebelius said on KWTV-TV, in an interview first uncovered by BuzzFeed. “Lots of companies have different timetables for when their new customers have to send their first payment.”
Republicans have been pressing the administration for that information for weeks now.
Earlier this month, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) sent a letter to Sebelius saying she had been “evasive and perhaps misleading” in her testimony before his committee.
At the hearing, Sebelius reiterated the administration’s claim that they’re not able to break down enrollees by who has made a payment because they only have access to information about those selecting plans on the HealthCare.gov website.
Consumers pay the insurers directly after enrolling, so the administration relies on data from the private sector in some cases. Critics have warned that the administration’s numbers are inflated because not everyone who selects a plan will complete the final step needed to obtain coverage.
Experts have estimated that as many as 20 percent of enrollees haven’t paid their first month's premium, and Sebelius’s comments on Monday are in line or slightly better than those analyses.
The administration has said that 6 million people had selected plans through mid-March, meaning that between 600,000 and 1.2 million of those counted as enrollees do not actually have insurance coverage, using Sebelius’s estimates.
The HHS is presently developing a back-end system to track enrollees who have made premium payments.