Clock is running out on ObamaCare enrollments: Illinois update
Only one month remains in the ObamaCare open enrollment period for this year. Even though the Obama administration is pulling out all the stops, Illinois is less than half-way to its goal of nearly 237,000 enrollees for 2014. March 31 is the deadline to obtain qualified health-insurance coverage or face a penalty under ObamaCare. Despite...
Only one month remains in the ObamaCare open enrollment period for this year. Even though the Obama administration is pulling out all the stops, Illinois is less than half-way to its goal of nearly 237,000 enrollees for 2014.
March 31 is the deadline to obtain qualified health-insurance coverage or face a penalty under ObamaCare. Despite seemingly wall-to-wall television, radio and digital ad pushes in the final weeks, enrollment in the ObamaCare exchanges actually declined in the month of February compared to the prior month, according the government’s latest enrollment report.
Enrollments have been anemic, the ObamaCare website is still plagued with problems, there have been numerous implementation delays and it is possible that there are now more people without insurance as a direct result of the law. Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is trumpeting an enrollment figure of 4.2 million in private insurance plans in the ObamaCare exchanges. Not only does this number fall far short of the 2014 goal of 7 million enrollees – by 60 percent – but this number is also misleading.
Instead of reporting on actual plan enrollments, the administration defines “enrollments” as individuals and families who have placed a plan in their shopping cart, but have not necessarily purchased a plan. The distinction is critical. As anyone who has ever shopped online knows, putting something in your shopping cart is not the same as actually purchasing it.
In Illinois, just fewer than 114,000 people had “enrolled” in ObamaCare exchanges through the first of March. But that 114,000 total would still not tell you the number of people covered. Only the number of people who have actually paid for a plan can tell you who is actually going to be covered.
According to insurers polled by CNNMoney, the actual number of people who have actually paid for their plans is estimated to be anywhere between 12-30 percent lower than the reported “enrolled” number nationally. This is in line with a similar estimate from insurance industry consultant Robert Laszewski, who puts the number of people who haven’t paid or who were enrolled more than once at about 20 percent.
Using those estimates in Illinois, actual enrollments through the end of the year could be in the 80,000-100,000 range. While some of the 185,000 individuals and families in Illinois who had their policies canceled as a direct result of ObamaCare were able to renew their plans for one more year, one is left wondering if ObamaCare actually increased the number of uninsured in the state.
The “young invincible” demographic is of particular importance in Illinois – well more than half of the state’s uninsured population falls within this age group. So far, about 25 percent of the young invincibles make up the Illinois enrollments. Without a younger and healthier insurance pool, health-insurance premiums in the exchanges will likely skyrocket well above this year’s levels.
There is little doubt that the Obama administration is likely to fall short of its overall goal of enrolling 7 million people by the end of March, as well as the goal of having 38 percent of the enrollee pool composed of young invincibles. It is conceivable that Illinois is only at somewhere around one-third to two-fifths of its way to its 2014 enrollment goal.
The Obama administration has been relentless in claiming that ObamaCare has been a success. If that is the case, one has to wonder why they are not reporting paid enrollments, nor are they reporting the number of previously uninsured. It is time for the administration to come clean on enrollment numbers.
ObamaCare was sold with promises to substantially reduce the number of uninsured Americans. The reality is that ObamaCare may end up throwing even more people into the ranks of the uninsured. It is a costly and damaging scheme for the entire health-care system and the nation.