(Bloomberg) — Three large health insurers — WellPoint Inc. (NYSE:WLP), Aetna Inc. (NYSE:AET) and Health Care Service Corp., the parent of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois — say a high percentage of their new public exchange plan customers are paying their first premiums.
As many as 90 percent of WellPoint exchange “qualified health plan” (QHP) customers have paid their first premium by its due date, according to written testimony the company prepared for a congressional hearing today.
For Aetna, the payment is in the “low to mid-80 percent range,” the company said in its written testimony.
Health Care Service Corp., which operates Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in five states including Texas, said that number is at least 83 percent.
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Making the first monthly payment is the last step to confirm enrollment in plans sold under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).
Republicans have questioned whether the Obama administration has greatly inflated QHP enrollment numbers by blurring the distinction between people who have signed up for QHPs and people who have actually paid for QHP coverage.
“What you have here is very solid first year enrollment, no matter how you slice it,” Dan Mendelson, president of Avalere Health, a consulting firm, said in a phone interview. “This thing is, at this point, well entrenched.”
While the Obama administration says that 8 million people signed up for private plans using the law’s insurance exchanges, federal officials have said they don’t track first premium payments.