Supporters and detractors of Obamacare can sleep a little easier tonight, now that we finally know the true enrollment numbers.
During a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing, Tavenner said that as of August 15 there were 7.3 million paid Obamacare enrollees. Put another way, 700,000 have stopped paying for insurance out of the 8 million enrollees announced in April.
"We are encouraged by the number of consumers who paid their premiums and continue to enroll in the marketplace coverage every day through special enrollment periods," Tavenner said.
Past announcements from the administration included people who hadn't yet paid for their premiums, leaving Republicans and reporters to wonder how many people were really insured. In the absence of concrete numbers from the government, estimates ranged from 80 percent all the way down to 67 percent, based on a misleading report from the House Energy and Commerce committee. According to today's data, we're at 91 percent.
And that's normal. An April study from Health Affairs found that only about 42 percent of people on the individual market keep their health care plans for a full year — people might decide insurance is unaffordable, but they also might switch to Medicaid, age into Medicare, or get a new job that offers insurance. Tavenner didn't say how many people have gained insurance in the last few months through the administration's special enrollment period for new life circumstances like pregnancy or divorce.
Still, some Republicans remain skeptical of the new numbers:
Tavenner tells Issa she doesn't know how many of 700,000 lost #Obamacare enrollees didn't pay first premium. He seems ... unconvinced.— Alex Wayne (@aawayne) September 18, 2014