Obamacare | The Government's Takeover of Health Care

Many Obamacare Enrollees Haven't Paid Their Premiums

Let's face it: 90% of Americans get their health care through their employer.  For the roughly 10-12 million Americans that don't have health insurance, they need to rely on Obamacare exchanges.  What's not surprising, though, is that many individuals that have enrolled in Obamacare have not yet paid for their premiums.  While some explanations are legitimate, a bigger concern is that this is likely what the White House planned all along: just have the taxpayers pick up the tab.

Obamacare has nothing to do with health care reform.  With millions of people not yet paying for Obamacare, but likely are still receiving care, we're seeing what Democrats had planned all along: the beginning of a public option.

From CBS News:

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said as much herself: "You are not fully enrolled [in Obamacare] until you pay your premium." Yet data collected by the Republican-led House Energy and Commerce Committee shows that as of April 15, just 67 percent of enrollees in the federally-run Obamacare marketplace had paid their first month's premiums.

There are a variety of factors that explain why more than 30 percent of enrollees have yet to pay. To begin with, it's worth noting that millions of Americans waited until the final weeks and days of the open enrollment period (which closed on March 31) to sign up for Obamacare. Many were allowed to finish the enrollment process after March 31, due to the flexibility the Obama administration granted. Consequently, many Americans on the new marketplace simply didn't owe any premiums by April 15.

"Americans are not in the habit of paying something earlier than they have to," said Tim Jost, a consumer advocate and professor of health law at Washington and Lee University.

Even so, the nature of the individual health insurance market -- factors like the fluidity of the marketplace and consumers' lack of familiarity with the system -- make it difficult to collect premiums from all enrollees.

Marc Boutin, executive vice president of the nonprofit National Health Council, said that getting nearly seven in 10 enrollees to pay just two weeks after the open enrollment period closed "seems quite positive." While more comprehensive data will come in later, he called it "a really good indication of the direction we're going."

"You have to recognize it's a new payment for many people, and it's not uncommon for people to miss that first payment or be confused about when to pay it," he said. From here, "I think the numbers are just going to go up."

It's irrelevant that it's a new payment system - these people are unlikely to pay for Obamacare ever.

Cliff Levine is a contributing editor for Habledash.

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