Health insurance companies say the number of people who paid their Obamacare premiums will be higher than House Republicans implied.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee said last week that, based on information it received from insurers, only 67 percent of people who signed up for private coverage through Obamacare's exchanges had gone on to pay their first month's premium.
Conservatives have fixated on the number of unpaid premiums, arguing that the White House's statistics — 8 million people have selected a plan — are meaningless. Consumers aren't truly enrolled until they pay their first premium, so the number of paid enrollments is indeed a more accurate picture of how many people the law's exchanges are covering.
But this week, in written testimony to the same committee, insurers say the 67 percent figure was premature — and that they warned the committee not to draw sweeping conclusions from the information it requested.
Energy and Commerce's figure included people who signed up for coverage but whose first premium hadn't come due at the time of the committee's inquiry. And that's a lot of people.
Wellpoint, the largest insurer in the Obamacare exchanges, said the payment rate is closer to 90 percent among people who reached their first payment deadline. The company has given investors the same estimate.