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Health Care Reform:

Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

Insurers: Sizeable Majority Has Paid Premiums

Companies report health-plan payment rates ranging from 70 to 90 percent

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The Obama administration has not been able to say how many health-plan enrollments are paid up.

Last week, the Republican-led House Energy and Commerce Committee reported data suggesting that only two-thirds of people who signed up through the federal HealthCare.gov website had paid their premiums as of April 15. The committee has since asked insurers to provide an update on paid enrollments as of May 20.

Because paid enrollments are constantly changing "it may be a matter of months before system-wide numbers on premium payments are available," Pratt said.

At Aetna Inc., the payment rate "has been in the low- to mid- 80 percent range," said Paul Wingle, executive director of the individual business and public exchange operations and strategy. Aetna participates in insurance marketplaces in 17 states.

WellPoint Inc., which offers health plans in eight states through HealthCare.gov and several state-based exchanges, has seen premium payment rates as high as 90 percent, depending on the state, said Dennis Matheis, president of WellPoint's central region and exchange strategy. For all applicants, the payment rate is roughly 70 percent, he said.

Health Care Service Corp. (HCSC), which operates Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in five states, reported payment rates in the mid- to high-80 percent range for policies with effective dates starting between Jan. 1 and April 1, 2014.

Darren Rodgers, HCSC's senior vice president and chief marketing officer, explained that "applicants with policies with an effective date of May 1 may still have time remaining in the payment deadline." Only 68 percent of those policies have been paid, he said.

Brian Evanko, president of the U.S. individual segment at Cigna Corp., did not disclose specific payment rates in his written testimony. The company offers marketplace plans in just five states, four of which use the HealthCare.gov website.

Cigna entered the exchanges "on a focused basis in 2014," in part, "to gather deeper learning about consumer behaviors in the individual market," he said.

The first open enrollment period for insurance coverage under Obamacare ended March 31, with some consumers getting extra time to complete their enrollments.

Most Americans won't have another chance to sign up for coverage through the exchanges until the next open enrollment period, which begins Nov. 15. Coverage purchased during that time won't take effect until 2015.

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