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Health insurers: Payment rates above 80 percent

Health insurers: More than 80 percent of those who've signed up have paid their
Top health insurance companies told members of Congress Wednesday that more than 80
percent of people who've signed up under the president's new health care law have gone on to
pay their premiums a necessary step for the enrollment figures touted by the Obama
administration to hold up.
etna reported payment rates in !the low" to mid"80 percent range#! Wellpoint said the rate was
as high as $0 percent for those whose premium had come due# and the %ealth Care &ervice
Corporation' which sells (lue Cross (lue &hield plans in five states' pegged the rate at 8)
percent or above. The figures were in line with what individual insurers have said on earnings
calls with analysts and elsewhere in recent wee*s.
+emocrats sei,ed on the figures disclosed at a %ouse hearing as the latest sign that the health
care law has defied its critics and is wor*ing.
!(y any rational' reasonable measure we can call this law a success'! said -ep. +iana +e.ette'
-epublicans said plenty more /uestions remained including whether rates will rise ne0t year
and by how much' and how many of those covered were previously uninsured.
!While the administration toasts the law's success with its %ollywood allies' declaring this
conversation over' we will continue our pursuit for facts'! said -ep. 1red 2pton' -"3ich.'
chairman of the 4nergy and Commerce Committee.
The si0 insurance industry witnesses summoned by an investigations subcommittee of the
4nergy and Commerce Committee were unable to provide details on coming rate changes or
how many people were previously uninsured' prompting frustration at times from -epublicans
who'd called the hearing.
!5t is baffling that we can have some of our nation's largest insures and you don't have any
internal analysis! on whether rates will go up' complained -ep. 3arsha (lac*burn' -"Tenn.
5n response to that /uestion and others' insurers responded that the calculations were not
completed or the data were not yet available.
!We 6ust don't have access to those numbers'! said +ennis 3atheis' an e0ecutive at Wellpoint'
Wednesday's hearing was called in the wa*e of the release of a .O7 report last wee* finding
that as of mid"pril' only 89 percent of people who'd signed up for health plans actually had paid
their first month's premium. That would have undermined the Obama administration's claims
that with more than 8 million people signed up' the ffordable Care ct has proven itself a
(ut the .O7 report didn't ta*e into account a surge of sign"ups as the health law's first open
enrollment period drew to a close at the end of 3arch' and none of the insurance industry
witnesses called Wednesday ratified its findings.
Witnesses also were reluctant to fall in line with +emocratic lines of /uestioning designed to
show the law is an unbridled success.
5ndeed' the hearing was most notable for how fre/uently the table of si0 witnesses fell silent
under /uestioning from one side or the other and had to be drawn out by lawma*ers aiming to
prove their contention.
(ut if the hearing was not always illuminating' it was certain not to be the last of its *ind in a
midterm election year where -epublicans are aiming to capitali,e on the unpopularity of
!Obamacare! to hold onto control of the %ouse and perhaps reta*e the &enate.