By Mario Trujillo - 04/30/14 06:42 PM EDT
House Republicans on Wednesday said they have data from insurance companies that shows only 67 percent of people who selected a health plan under ObamaCare have paid their first month's premium.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee's subpanel on Oversight and Investigations said it contacted every insurance company involved in the federal marketplace, and based its data on people who had paid by April 15. The committee said it found only 2.45 million had paid for coverage through the federal marketplace at that time.
Many enrollees still have time to make their first month's payment after the enrollment surge earlier this month, so the committee said it would ask insurance companies to update its numbers again by May 20.
"Tired of receiving incomplete pictures of enrollment in the health care law, we went right to the source and found that the administration’s recent declarations of success may be unfounded,” Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said in a statement.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) pushed back, saying the committee's numbers only account for about half of the insurers on the marketplace and are outdated.
“These claims are based on only about half of the approximately 300 issuers in the federally-facilitated Marketplace and they do not match up with public comments from insurance companies themselves, most of which indicate that 80 to 90 percent of enrollees have paid their premium," said CMS spokesman Aaron Albright.
"Additionally, given the significant surge in enrollments at the end of March, it stands to reason that not all enrollees would have paid by the date of this so-called report since many people’s bills were not even due yet,” he said.
Ranking member Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) called the report "rubbish" and said the numbers were inaccurate and out of date. He pointed to updated information from insurance companies, including Wellpoint, the biggest insurer in the marketplaces, which said Wednesday 90 percent had paid their first premium.
The subcommittee plans to hold a hearing on the premium issue next Wednesday and has invited a number of health insurance companies to attend.
Earlier this month, President Obama announced 8 million people had enrolled in ObamaCare plans, which includes people who have enrolled through state-based exchanges. However, the administration has not provided the number of people who have paid for coverage. It has said the government only has access to information about people selecting plans on the federal insurance marketplace, not those who have paid insurance companies.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) challenged President Obama to have HHS release its own data if the numbers are in dispute.
"These numbers stand in stark contrast to the White House’s previous assertions. While the administration was eager to declare that ObamaCare’s mandate had worked, it has so far not provided any substantive data to back that up," Cantor said.
"If President Obama disputes the information provided by the insurance companies, he should direct HHS to immediately release complete enrollment data, including how many people were previously insured."
— This story was updated at 7:45 p.m.