Obamacare ‘Enrollments’ May Also Include Duplicates: Congressional Testimony

The White House’s touted Obamacare sign-up number may be inflated due to the fact that many consumers were required during the rollout of the glitchy healthcare.gov website to sign up more than once for the same plan, creating so-called “duplicate enrollments,” according to a representative of the insurance industry.

Testifying before a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Oversight Committee, Mark Pratt, Senior Vice President, State Affairs America’s Health Insurance Plans, raised questions about the White House’s claim that nearly 8 million Americans have signed up for a health insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act.

“Because of the challenges that surfaced with the launch of the Exchanges in October 2013, some consumers were advised to create a new account and enroll again,” Pratt said Wednesday.

“As a result, insurers have many duplicate enrollments in their system for which they never received any payment. In cases where an insurer has a new enrollment for a consumer who previously enrolled, they are not expecting that original policy to be effectuated – even though that data is still reported,” he added.

Simply put, according to Pratt, glitches in the online exchanges that resulted in Americans signing up more than once for the same plan may have created “duplicate enrollments” that are being counted by the Obama administration toward final sign-up figures.

“For example, if there are three people with one enrollment each and one person with two enrollments, the government will report this as five total enrollments,” Naomi Lopez-Bauman reported for Rare. “If the first three people paid for each of their policies and the fourth person paid for one policy, the insurer will report 100 percent payment. In this way, the government numbers may be further overstating enrollments.”

It’s important to note that “sign-ups” are different from “enrollments” as the latter require payment. Further, and despite the fact that the White House tends to use these two terms interchangeably, the House Energy and Commerce Committee announced last week that only 67 percent of the nearly 8 million sign-ups have paid their first month’s insurance premium, meaning only two-thirds of White House’s Obamacare sign-ups are formally enrolled in a plan.

Here’s Pratt’s prepared testimony:

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