US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions

Barrasso, Alexander: Americans Deserve to See New, Accurate Obamacare Enrollment Data

Senators call on CMS Administrator Tavenner to provide detailed breakdown of new Obamacare enrollees based on age, who paid and who had their coverage cancelled.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014Liz Wolgemuth 202-224-8584

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators John Barrasso (R-WY) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) called on the Obama Administration to provide Congress and the American people with new and accurate information about the number of people who are enrolled in Obamacare exchange coverage.   

The administration has not released information on exchange enrollment to the public since May.

In their letter to the Administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Marilyn Tavenner, the senators request a detailed breakdown of the age of the individuals who enrolled in the Obamacare exchange, what type of plans they enrolled in, who paid and did not pay their premiums, and which individuals have cancelled coverage. The letter also highlights recent investigations that call into question the accuracy of the enrollment figures trumpeted by the Administration this past May.  

“Since the last enrollment report issued by CMS, numerous investigations raise questions about the accuracy of the enrollment figures trumpeted by the Administration in May. For example, the Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Inspector General found that the marketplace could not resolve 2.6 million out of 2.9 million inconsistencies because the eligibility system created by your agency was not fully operational…With the next open enrollment period set to begin on November 15, 2014, it is imperative that CMS provide Congress and the public with accurate information about the number of people who are enrolled in exchange coverage as well as the number of people who have cancelled coverage,” the senators wrote.   

Full text of the letter below:

August 27, 2014

The Honorable Marilyn Tavenner

Administrator

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

7500 Security Boulevard

Baltimore, MD 21244

Dear Administrator Tavenner,

We are writing to ask that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) update Congress and the public regarding enrollment in the health insurance exchanges. The last public update by CMS on enrollment numbers was on May 1, 2014.  Numerous Administration officials touted the enrollment totals reported by CMS.  Former Secretary Sebelius was quick to praise CMS’s report and stated that the exchange enrollment exceeded expectations.

Since the last enrollment report issued by CMS, numerous investigations raise questions about the accuracy of the enrollment figures trumpeted by the Administration in May.  For example, the Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Inspector General found that the marketplace could not resolve 2.6 million out of 2.9 million inconsistencies because the eligibility system created by your agency was not fully operational. 

In addition, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report detailing the results of their “secret shopper” investigation which attempted to test Obamacare’s enrollment controls.  The results were frightening as eleven out of the twelve fake applications created by GAO were approved. 

Finally, your own agency recently acknowledged that over 300,000 people have not responded to problems found with their immigration and citizenship status.  Despite repeated efforts to contact these individuals, they have not provided the documentation to prove that they can legally receive plans through the exchanges.  Unless these people can address this problem, their exchange coverage will terminate on September 30th

With the next open enrollment period set to begin on November 15, 2014, it is imperative that CMS provide Congress and the public with accurate information about the number of people who are enrolled in exchange coverage as well as the number of people who have cancelled coverage.  Therefore, we request you provide the following information. 

1.     The number of individuals who selected an insurance plan through the health insurance exchanges from the beginning of the 2014 open enrollment period through August 15, 2014.

2.     The number of individuals who selected an exchange insurance plan, but failed to pay their first month’s premium.

3.     The number of individuals who selected an exchange insurance plan and paid their first month’s premium.

4.     The number of individuals who selected an exchange insurance plan, paid their first month’s premium, but then failed to make subsequent payments and therefore are no longer enrolled in their exchange insurance plan.

To ensure this information provides the most complete picture of the number of individuals who are currently enrolled in exchange insurance policies, please provide a breakdown of these answers based on the state, medal level, and age of the enrollees.

Thank you in advance for your attention to this request.  We would appreciate a response by September 9, 2014. 

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