A North Dakota newspaper reports that the Obama administration asked Blue Cross Blue Shield in that state not to tell the public what Obamacare enrollment numbers in the state are. That request has backfired.
During a Monday forum in Fargo for people interested in signing up for coverage via the exchange, James Nichol of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota told the crowd his company received the request from the federal government earlier Monday. Nichol is a consumer sales manager for the company.
Still, a spokeswoman from Blue Cross Blue Shield says about 14 North Dakotans have signed up for coverage since the federal exchange went live Oct. 1. That brings total statewide enrollment to 20 – less than one a day.
Spokeswoman Andrea Dinneen said Tuesday that while Blue Cross generally does not release its internal sales numbers, it has in this case because the problematic rollout of the federal health care exchange is a “unique situation.”
And it’s also not the company’s fault. Obamacare is making them and the entire insurance industry look bad just by association.
The feds won’t answer questions about the request now.
An official from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, one of the main the federal agencies handling the federal marketplace, would not directly address questions about the request made of Blue Cross Blue Shield, including whether other insurers were also asked to keep quiet about enrollment.
North Dakota’s other two large insurers say that they haven’t received a similar request, but it’s always possible that they did, but have also been told not to discuss it publicly.
The Obama administration’s “request” puts a whole new spin on the Obamacare rollout debacle. Incompetence and dishonesty have always been at the top of news reports about the ongoing mess, but this request escalates the story the level of ongoing cover-up.