OCI Says Technical Problems Continue to Persist
MacIver News Service | March 18, 2014[Madison, Wisc…] New information from the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) shows about 20 percent of Obamacare applicants in Wisconsin have yet to pay their first month’s bill.
In an interview with the MacIver News Service (MNS), State Insurance Commissioner Ted Nickel discussed Wisconsin’s health insurance enrollment figures. Nickel said about 47,000 people have signed up, according to the most recent data available from insurance companies participating on the exchange.
OCI is regularly collecting enrollment data from the insurance providers. The most recent data is for individuals that signed up for insurance with a February 1st start date.
Many enrollees have yet to pay their first month’s premium, however.
“About 20 percent of the 47,000 enrollees have not paid as of yet,” Nickel said in the interview. That means about 9,400 people still need to pay their first month’s bill.
This data does differ from the federal numbers that were released last week, which showed about 71,000 people signed up for insurance in Wisconsin. That data is through March 1st, however.
Nickel said the state’s enrollment figures may be slightly behind the federal figures, but argued OCI’s information is the most accurate because it is directly from the insurance providers.
“I can’t guarantee if the federal figures are accurate or inaccurate,” Nickel said. He argued it would be easier to compare the data once the enrollment period is over and OCI has all the information from the insurance companies.
MNS reached out to the federal Department of Health and Human Services for its information on who has paid for insurance but did not receive a response at the time of publishing this article.
The Insurance Commissioner also said the federal website continues to have technical problems. While the HealthCare.gov website is functioning better on the front-end, he argued that data on the site is not always accurate.
“Insurance providers have continued to have a lot of issues with getting the correct information on the website that is useful to customers,” Nickel told MNS. He gave an example of someone living in Lincoln County signing up for a plan and later finding out the information they were given was actually for Portage County.
Nickel called them “back-end” problems and said consumers should continue to double-check their plan after they purchase it.
Consumers have until March 31st to sign up for insurance on the exchange, or they will not be able to sign up again until the next enrollment period in the fall.