Half of Georgia's Obamacare Sign-ups Haven't Paid, Says State Insurance Commissioner



The Obama administration announced last week that 8 million people had signed up for private health coverage through the 2010 health care law. But not all of those people are covered, because not all of those people have paid their first month's premium.

How many people selected a plan but didn't mail in the first check? The Obama administration hasn't released exact figures, but outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said at the end of last month that between 80 and 90 percent of the sign-ups had paid up.

That's an aggregate number, however, and it doesn't necessarily hold for every state. For example, Georgia's non-payment rate appears to be much higher.

As of last week, about half of the 220,000 sign-ups recorded in the state hadn't resulted in payment, according to the state's insurance commissioner. Via Georgia Health News:

Georgia insurers received more than 220,000 applications for health coverage in the Affordable Care Act's exchange as of the official federal deadline of March 31, state officials said Wednesday.

Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, though, said premiums have been received for only 107,581 of those policies, which cover 149,465 people.

"Many Georgians completed the application process by the deadline, but have yet to pay for the coverage," Hudgens said in a statement Wednesday.

What this tells us is that non-payment rates won't be uniform across the states—and that the variation between high and low payment rates will be significant. California, for example, has estimated that only about 15 percent of its sign-ups haven't paid.

The disparity is going to contribute to the unevenness of the Obamacare experience going forward. We've already seen this with the rollout of the state exchanges, some of which were basically functional on day one, or quickly overcame initial launch problems, and some of which are still essentially unusable.

We'll see a similar pattern going forward. In some states, enrollment will have beaten expectations, multiple insurers will compete for business, and the technology will basically work. In other states, sign-up numbers won't translate to enrollments because of non-payment, enrollment targets will be missed, and administrative problems will continue.

(Link via Jim Geraghty.) 

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  1. well, good luck not paying a claim for someone who signed up but hasn’t paid. we’ll just deem them enrolled

    1. I thought they explicitly deemed there to be a 3 month grace period? Or does that only count for people who stop paying?

      1. they have to have paid at least one month’s premium. it’s if they stop, then the grace period kicks in.

        of course, i imagine this guidance could be revised.

  2. Eh, a bunch of people probably think that it’s free healthcare so they don’t have to pay anything.

    1. Now that we have health insurance for all, we need a system to help those who fell through the cracks. Those who cannot pay for government mandated insurance need relief! Like a voucher, or an electronic card.

    2. ^^^^THIS^^^^

      Boy are they in for a suprise..

    1. I was expecting a clip of Harry Reid.

  3. When I first glanced at that photo, I thought it was Sebelius loading all her personal effects into a cardboard box.

    That would be excellent. Followed by the one of her being escorted from the building by security.

    1. I was actually on a plane with her — about 4 months ago — the amount of security ridiculous. i remember commenting to my wife about at the gate. “bet it’s Sebelius for the [some health care conference].” sure enough. there were probably 7-10 people at the gate. just 1* on the plane with her** though.

      *first row in coach
      **first class

      1. I am shocked she didn’t just get a “Pelosi Special” – Air Force Gulfstream!

        1. One thing I like about Jerry Brown (OK, the only thing I like about him) is that he still flies Southwest by himself.

      2. It’s amazing how these TOP MEN and TOP WOMEN can’t seem to be able to make a lunch appointment without 10 people to assist them. It’s clear why they should be in charge, I guess.

        1. seems to me it was stupid from a security standpoint too. how many people know who she is? way to blend in.

        2. Yeah, I saw 4 star generals in a #$&%ing war with fewer security dudes and far less in the flunky/butt boy/lictor/piss bucket carrier category.

        3. It is just ego. I understand the need for the President not to fly commercial and to have security. Now they give the same treatment to B listers like her. It is just about making these people feel like they are separate from the proles they rule.

          1. B lister? More like F trooper.

  4. So when does the death spiral begin?

    1. It’s already started. The symptoms are clear enough that at least two Insurers have publicly admitted to potential doublings of next year’s rates.

    2. So when does the death spiral begin?

      In 2009.

    3. I suppose it really begins when your risk pool is set, and turns out to be toxic. So, right about now.

      Generally, it can’t really be diagnosed until the premiums for the second year are published. That’s what triggers the exit of healthier people, concentrating risk and expense, and setting off the spiral.

      So, around October would be my guess. Most insurers have to file their rates for 2015 around then.

  5. No worries if they don’t pay, thanks to the ACA there are no pre-existing exclusions so they can just sign up to get covered once they leave the hospital and then have insurance take care of the rest!


    It’s like magic..

  6. The original Jason has it right. Most of these people think it is free. Beyond that, who cares if they have paid, coverage is not care!!

    1. To be fair, they might be right, particularly if they qualify for Medicaid.

      1. Even that is not free. You have to let a social worker start running your life as a condition for getting it.

        1. maybe that’s why enrollment has historically been difficult and they come up with stupid names for it. like BadgerCare in WI. but that’s a point I had not considered.

          1. BadgerCare… Now that’s truth in advertising.

  7. They don’t care (the feds). This isn’t about it actually working. In fact, the more screwed up it is, the more effective it will eventually be when they say the only possible solution is single-payer. That’s been the end game here all along. It’s why they were so giddy to vote for it before they even knew what was in it. Didn’t matter. It was always just the first step to single-payer.

    1. The Obama people might not care. The Democrats running for re-election care. Hard to vote for single payer when you are no longer in office.

    2. If that was their plan (doubt it) it was a stupid plan. Single-payer is not happening. It was not happening before America was broke and before its advocates had been disgraced and ruined by association with this monstrosity. It’s not happening now.

    3. If you believe they put thousands of pages of complicated stuff together and fine tuned it, while getting major insurers to buy in, for the purpose of having it fail as marketing for another plan that costs even more, you are a retarded, fucking, shitheaded conspiritard.

      Just so you know.

      No offense.

    4. Let’s call the end result by the proper name: Single-denier.

  8. GA opted out of the higher Medicaid threshold so a lot of sign-ups found the healthcare wasn’t going to be free.

  9. “What do you mean I have to pay for Obamacare?” -Obamacare supporter and user.

    1. TEN years ago, my pharmacist brother had customers at the clinic he worked at register complaints with his manager because he asked customers how they were going to pay for their prescriptions. (This is not a “Free clinic”, it’s just a large medical office with a couple dozen doctors and a pharmacy attached to a small nursing home; 75% of the patients were not residents of the nursing home.)

      This is the American mind(less)-set. Obamacare only made it worse.

  10. Why does Sebelius always look mad in pictures? She should be ecstatic, she managed to con taxpayers out of better than half a million dollars while being taken care of for a good chunk of a decade, and she will suffer no consequences for her failure.

  11. Obamacare is the stupidest law ever.

  12. Read the press release: all of the numbers given were as of March 31. About 50,000 people in Georgia signed up in the last two weeks of March. How many would have even have received a bill by the 31st? How many signed up for coverage effective May 1 and still have over a week to pay?

    Fortunately, we have more information. From March 26:

    “State insurance officials said Wednesday that 177,668 Georgians have completed applications for coverage in the health exchange as of March 15.
    The Office of state Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens also said Wednesday that of the Georgia enrollees, 144,665 had paid premiums for their new coverage”

    So: 81% paid as of March 15. Georgia gets a flood of enrollments in the last two weeks and, oddly enough, the percentage paid as of March 31 has gone down to 67% (149,465/221,604).

    And this is supposed to mean what, exactly?

    1. That’s funny, when I signed up I was told right away that I needed to pay and how much.

      1. You didn’t sign up through healthcare.gov then. Are you sure you didn’t send your money to Nigeria? If you did, I’m pretty sure you’re not covered at all.

    2. this is supposed to mean what, exactly?

      Perhaps that people who signed up 90 days after they should have aren’t the most reliable credit risks.

      1. “90 days”? “should have”? What are you babbling about?

        1. The law. What are YOU babbling about?

          1. So you are babbling about some fantasy law that you hallucinated involving some sort of deadline at the beginning of 2014.

            The ACA, as it happens, never had such a deadline. Ever.

    3. So: 81% paid as of March 15.

      Anything less than 98% is insolvent.

      For example, 94% of Americans with mortgages pay their mortgage. Thus, the financial crisis of 2007-present.

      1. That’s demented. If you don’t pay your first month’s premium you aren’t insured. Period. There is no other consequence.

        Just who exactly is supposed to be insolvent if, for example, only 90% of those whose applications for insurance were accepted complete the contract by paying the first month’s premium? 90% has been the typical percentage of conversions in the individual market for decades, by the way.

  13. You know, anybody (like Sebelius and California) with a stake in “estimating” a number shouldn’t be listened to, at all, unless they explain the basis for their estimate.

    I’ll be blown away of the nationwide number, or the CA number, for paid signups is over 85%.

  14. Let’s not forget that half of Americans have an IQ below 100. The stupid really can’t do anything much more complicated than voting.

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