Half of Georgia Obamacare enrollees have paid premiums

April 21, 2014 6:48 am

by Jason · 20 comments

If you believe the numbers coming out of the Obama administration, some 222,000 Georgia “enrolled” into health plans on the federal Obamacare exchange. Only they didn’t. Turns out that about half of those people have actually paid their insurance premiums:

Georgia insurers received more than 220,000 applications for health coverage in the Affordable Care Act’s exchange as of the official federal deadline of March 31, state officials said Wednesday.

Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, though, said premiums have been received for only 107,581 of those policies, which cover 149,465 people.

“Many Georgians completed the application process by the deadline, but have yet to pay for the coverage,” Hudgens said in a statement Wednesday.

March 31 was the official deadline for individuals to get insurance coverage or face a financial penalty under the ACA. Yet because of the deluge of last-minute shoppers, federal officials relaxed the rules for those who reported having trouble with the exchange, and gave them into this week to sign up.

Given that extra time, there have presumably been more Georgians both signing up and paying for their premiums in April. They would not be included in the figures released Wednesday.

H/T: NRO

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

John Konop April 21, 2014 at 7:54 am

Jason,

I realize you are for the free market to cure healthcare. What is your solution for people who do not have health insurance, if they can afford it or not, and do not have the money when they get sick?

A) Deny access to county emergency rooms for healthcare for people with no insurance and or money, and let them deal with the health problem even if they die, spread disease……?

b) Keep spending tax payer money on non emergency care for healthcare for the uninsured?

C) let the free market decide who lives and dies based on profit?

D) Put head in sand and keep preaching an ideology over dealing with the issue?

As far as the shopping healthcare idea….how many people would be shopping prices during an health care emergency for their kids, spouse…..? Your family member is have a heart attack, stroke….. and you think it would be best to price shop ambulance service at that time, cheapest hospital…..?

Jason April 21, 2014 at 9:16 am

ALL THE STRAWMEN!

Sorry, I don’t take trolls seriously.

John Konop April 21, 2014 at 9:33 am

No trolling, just reality…..

Rich April 21, 2014 at 11:22 am

Any view expressed here that isn’t confirmation bias is considered a troll.

IndyPendant April 21, 2014 at 9:31 am

Gee Ralph, thanks for caring. How about upholding the Constitution, like you swore to do, instead of trying to deny healthcare to Georgians?

CJBear71 April 21, 2014 at 9:33 am

“Given that extra time, there have presumably been more Georgians both signing up and paying for their premiums in April.”

One thing people didn’t realize as these numbers were reported is that insurance purchased in the last 2 weeks of March (or April for that matter) would not be effective until May 1st, and premimum payments were not due until then. Otherwise, payment rates have been about 85-90% nationally. Even if you miss your first month’s payment, you will get a late notice in the mail, and hopefully make your payment before you lose coverage. With about 80,000 Georgians signing up in the last 2 weeks, these numbers don’t surprise me.

Additionally, these numbers don’t count people who bought insurance “off-exchange”. Many people who had difficulty with the Healthcare.gov website in the beginning called up insurers directly. Also, those who had insurance “cancelled” because their previous plans were non-ACA compliant (and cheap and crappy) simply went back to their insurance company directly for a new plan (or it was extended). Very few ended up without insurance.

At the end of the day, I think that 220,000 number is going to hold up very well. Which means the number of uninsured Georgians who qualify for these health plans decreased by about 25%. Not bad for the first year.

But when you look at the Medicaid numbers, there’s almost no help there. Medicaid had a “no wrong door” policy, so a lot of people signed up to Medicaid in GA through Healthcare.gov. But most had it already. Net change in average monthly Medicaid participants is only about 30,000 or about a 3% increase due to the “woodwork” effect.

When you look at the states that have actually worked at this, they achieved reductions in their uninsured rate by 40-50%. California, New York, Oregon, Washington, even Kentucky! States that worked at it, put resources behind it, and expanded Medicaid have seen huge changes in just the first year. As it continues, that’s going to get more people into preventive care, bring in more doctors and nurses and health care business into their states, an reduce the pressure on their emergency rooms. It’s a shame Georgia can’t seem to do the same.

John Konop April 21, 2014 at 9:37 am

At the end of the day it is all window dressing…..unless we bend the cost curve dramatically….ACA has lowered a bit…..but even with their own numbers it is not sustainable….Both sides need to put the political BS aside….and deal with real cost cutting measures…I know it is not what people want to hear….but the math is the math….

DavidTC April 21, 2014 at 12:26 pm

Both sides need to put the political BS aside

And by ‘both sides’, you mean ‘One side that has actually worked to bend the cost curve, and has had some success, and one side that screams until red in the face about undoing all that and presenting no solutions at all?’

Seriously, there are a dozen different ways the Obamacare tries to bend the cost curve. Hospital readmission under Medicare are now penalized instead of rewarded, as are infections contracted while hospitalized. Which not only reduce costs, but obviously reducing those thing increases health, period. We don’t want people to get infected in hospitals even if it cost nothing!

And networks got narrower, as insurance companies actually started looking around and saying ‘Why are we paying that much for an MRI here when it’s half the cost over there? No, you now have to go there instead, we’re not paying for that overpriced nonsense.’ (Ironically, Republicans used to support exactly this sort of free-market solutions. But ‘Ironically, Republicans used to support…’ is basically the theme song of Obamacare.)

It’s not *enough*, we’re not *finished*. But Obamacare has actually reduced, to some extent, the explosive growth of health care costs.

The Republicans want to undo that.

This is not some sort of ‘political BS’ where neither side are producing solutions. The Democrats produced a partial solution, which also solved a lot of *other* problems too. It is indeed partial, no one’s denying that, and more could be done. But Democrats can’t do anything else, they’ve had to fight for years to just keep their partial solution as the Republicans tried to undo it while producing no solutions of their own, either for medical costs or any other health care problem.

Chris Huttman April 21, 2014 at 1:27 pm

I’d go one step further, Republicans are fine with waste in healthcare spending as long as there isn’t a subsidy involved.

DavidTC April 21, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Oh, now that’s just exaggerating.

They’re fine with subsidies as long as it isn’t a subsidy for *human beings*.

Chris Huttman April 21, 2014 at 9:48 am

I bought off exchange (but part of the same risk pool for pricing purposes for next year’s premiums) on March 31st and I literally got my invoice…at 5:04 AM today.

So sorry – but this isn’t really a relevant story. And even if we fast forwarded a month from now and it was only 75%, the real story to me would be a lot of people out there want healthcare that can’t quite afford to pay for it. Not sure what the Republican solution to that is?

IndyPendant April 21, 2014 at 9:59 am

The “Republican” solution is the Affordable Care Act.

The real solution is single payer.

Doctor Strangelove April 21, 2014 at 5:33 pm

cc: The Heritage Foundation, circa 1999.

Doctor Strangelove April 21, 2014 at 5:33 pm

Oh, Chris. How adorable you are. You think that these Republicans give a rat’s behind about facts, figures, and empirical evidence. They don’t; they’d just much rather say “THE NUMBERS ARE INFLATED BY THE SOCIALIST KENYAN PRESIDENT” and leave it at that.

Let’s move along, people. Nothing to see here (except, you know, the extension of a basic human right to millions of Americans).

DavidTC April 21, 2014 at 10:49 am

Remember when Obamacare was going to create death panels? Remember when it was going to destroy Medicare? Remember when it was going to be the most horrible thing ever? Then remember when it didn’t do any of that?

Remember when it looked like was going to be slightly under its enrollment goal? Then remember when it wasn’t?

Remember when it was somehow a big deal that a large portion of the people, despite finishing their signups a week ago, haven’t paid their bill yet, because they obviously just got it and have another week to do so? In a month, remember when that wasn’t true either?

Remember that the goal of Obamacare was seven million this *year*, and it is possible for people to actually sign up *during the rest of the year* if they have one of the qualifying life events, so all this pretending there’s a ‘deadline’ we just hit is nonsense in the first place? It’s supposed to have seven million people by the *end* of this year, not the middle. There is no way it won’t reach that.

And remember when all this was nonsense to start with, because the law doesn’t magically melt down because it’s four people under the goal anyway? Remember that the insurance companies have already states that the mix of enrollees is perfectly fine, and the entire thing would have been fine with five million?

It’s really amazing what people are desperately trying to make out to be ‘failure’ of Obamacare. It’s something that, literally, even if *true*, which it’s not, but even if *true…who the hell cares? That doesn’t make the program a disaster. It doesn’t even present a *problem*.

Remember when Republicans said Obamacare was literally the most evil concept conceivable and would destroy society, before it was downgraded to ‘We shall desperately grasp at straws claiming they will slightly miss their enrollment *guess*, causing no harm to the program or people enrolled in it at all.’.

The American people remember. And will vote in accordance.

Harry April 21, 2014 at 12:55 pm

More government is the problem, not the solution.

Ellynn April 21, 2014 at 2:21 pm

You forgot your “unless it regulates what pregnant women can and can not do” clause.

Lea Thrace April 21, 2014 at 2:37 pm

Dont forget the gays!

Harry April 21, 2014 at 6:15 pm

Funny you should say that. The government is fighting my right to refuse service to homosexuals.

Harry April 21, 2014 at 6:18 pm

Funny you should say that. The government is fighting my right to refuse service to homosexuals. And let’s not forget the government is allowing the killing of babies, which hardly protects their rights.