You will note that after the White House announcement — and victory dance — regarding the 8 million people who signed up for insurance on the Obamacare exchanges, we haven’t heard much from the administration to update us on enrollment numbers.
Could it be that consumers are dropping their Obamacare insurance policies like they had the plague?
Florida’s Obamacare enrollment is now over 220,000 lower than the Obama administration’s most recent tally, according to a report from the state insurance department.
The Obama administration hasn’t released updated Obamacare enrollment statistics since May, when the Department of Health and Human Services put the number of Florida sign-ups at 983,775 — but the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation says that now, just 762,723 Floridians have health insurance through the exchange.
The state insurance department issued a report this week including updated exchange enrollment, based on rate filings from state health insurers. By June 2014, the number of Obamacare enrollees in Florida was almost a quarter lower than the Obama administration’s sign-up numbers just one month before.
Insurance department spokesman Harvey Bennett told the South Florida Business Journal that the enrollment numbers are lower than the Obama administrations because some sign-ups never paid their first premiums and others may have dropped out afterwards. A portion of the federal tally could also have been duplicate enrollments, Bennett said.
The 220,000-plus drop in one state is one of the first updates on Obamacare statistics and could have serious national implications. The Obama administration trumpeted an Obamacare victory with 8 million sign-ups, but if other states are undergoing similar enrollment drops the real number of Americans who have bought coverage could be much lower.
Not surprisingly, Republicans are intensely curious about those updated numbers. Where are they? Just this week, two GOP Senators asked HHS Secretary Marilyn Tavenner to release updated enrollee numbers, including those who have cancelled.
That should make for interesting reading.
What we do know is that Aetna, the nation’s third largest insurance company, reported a drop of more than 220,000 insureds — from 720,000 to less than 600,000 according to IDB:
That would leave Aetna’s paid enrollment down as much as 30% from that May sign-up tally.
“I think we will see some attrition … We’re already seeing it. And we expect that to continue through the end of the year,” CEO Mark Bertolini said in a July 29 conference call.
It’s not clear how representative Aetna’s experience is of broader exchange trends, or whether its projection may be too conservative. (If it were representative, a similar 30% decline would drop ObamaCare enrollment to 6 million or less.)
Still, as one of ObamaCare’s largest players, participating in exchanges in 16 states plus D.C., Aetna’s experience provides a pretty good window into what is happening across the country, and there are other indications that enrollment has turned down.
Attrition is to be expected in any normal year, but 30%? That sounds excessive, which could mean other factors are the cause. How many people cancelled their insurance because they didn’t realize what they were buying? Perhaps many consumers found better deals off the exchanges. Whatever the reason, Obamacare is not out of the woods yet, and gloating liberals should keep in mind that much of Obamacare hasn’t even been implemented yet — the result of unilateral, and possibly illegal delays made by the president.
How many workers will have their hours cut to part-time so employers don’t have to pay for their health insurance? How many workers will have their insurance eliminated? How many will be forced to pay more where the employer shares the costs of premiums?
We won’t have any of these questions answered until next year when the employer mandate begins to go into effect. Sooner than that, we will discover how much current Obamacare premiums are going to rise. Indications are that some states will hold the line on increases, but others will see their insurance costs skyrocket.
All of this will happen after the election — just as President Obama planned it. Already, it appears that Obamacare as a campaign issue has lost some of its bite. But because of the delays and other issues — experts are predicting chaos at tax time next year — Obamacare promises to remain near the top as matters of concern to the voter.