Insurers Plan To Debunk GOP’s ‘Rigged’ Obamacare Study In Front Of Congress

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Insurance companies plan to effectively debunk the House GOP’s much-derided Obamacare survey at a Wednesday hearing.

The hearing is a follow-up to last week’s report from the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and is hosted by one of its subcommittees, that found only 67 percent of Obamacare enrollees had paid their premiums as of April 15. An industry source described the survey to TPM as “incredibly rigged” because it excluded any premium payments that were due April 30 or later.

Roughly 3 million of Obamacare’s 8 million enrollees would have had payments due after April 15 because they signed up March 15 or later.

A follow-up letter sent to insurers by the committee seemed to indicate that companies had raised that issue. Testimony prepared for Wednesday’s hearing, and which was first reported by Bloomberg, is another direct contradiction of the Republicans’ methodology.

Dennis Matheis, a vice president at WellPoint, one of the nation’s largest insurers, plans to point out the payment percentage is much higher if you count only the payments that have actually come due, up to 90 percent:

The percentage of applicants that have paid a premium will differ depending on whether the percentage is calculated based on the total number of applications and premium payments received during this entire time period (roughly 70 percent) or is calculated based on the total number of applications and premium payments received for policies whose premium deadline has passed (ranging up to 90 percent depending on the state).

Paul Wingle, an executive at Aetna, plans to make the same point, estimating his company’s customers are paying at better-than-80-percent clip:

For those who had reached their payment due date, the payment rate, though dynamic, has been in the low- to mid-80 percent range.

A third industry witness, J. Darren Rodgers of Health Care Services Corp., plans to stress that the last segment of payment data “is not yet complete given that deadlines for all of those policies may not yet have passed.”

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