Report: OK taxpayers foot more than $1K per Obamacare enrollee

Patrick B. McGuigan
|
May 15, 2014 5:00 AM
Report: OK taxpayers foot more than $1K per Obamacare enrollee

By Patrick B. McGuigan | Oklahoma Watchdog

OKLAHOMA CITY — The average enrollee in the federal insurance marketplace costs Oklahoma taxpayers $1,095, according to a new report by the Oklahoma Department of Insurance.

That’s drawn the ire of Oklahoma Commissioner of Insurance John Doak.

“Once again, we are face-to-face with the unacceptable situation that is Obamacare,” he said in a statement to Oklahoma Watchdog. “Not only are the ACA health care plans expensive and unpopular, but they are also costing Oklahoma taxpayers a staggering amount.

.

DOAK DECRIES COSTS: Oklahoma Commissioner of Insurance John D. Doak is criticizing the nearly $1,100 per enrollee costs in Oklahoma’s federally-facilitated ObamaCare exchange system.

“And this report is just talking about the creation of the exchange websites, not the insurance policies themselves, so the burden on taxpayers is actually much higher.”

Oklahoma Watchdog reported recently on the Obamacare “payment problem,” in which the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee found that only 48 percent of federal exchange enrollees in the state had paid their first month’s premium as of April 15.

Former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has said participants are not fully enrolled until paying the first month’s premium in the system.

“The work done by the House Energy and Commerce Committee confirms our suspicions that the so-called success of Obamacare is nothing more than the same kind of lies the law was built upon,” Doak said. “Consumers need the ability to purchase the health insurance that best fits their own lives, not one the federal government has mandated.

Jay Angoff, the former commissioner of insurance in Missouri, wrote the analysis Doak referenced concerning total exchange costs. Drawing on federal enrollment data and exchange spending for both federal and state exchanges, Angoff found the Sooner State had reached 69,221 enrollees (far below the 256,000 federal officials had projected) and that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services had spent $75,786,869 on the project in Oklahoma.

The cost of $1,095 per Oklahoma enrollee is slightly more than the national average of $922 per exchange enrollee, as detailed in a recent blog posting from the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C.

Angoff’s report drew on HHS reports compiled early this month for enrollment data through March 31.

Oklahoma is one of 36 states with a federally-facilitated exchange. Angoff’s report found Oklahoma had the 17th highest cost-per-enrollee. The District of Columbia and 14 states have state-based exchanges, and the average cost-per-enrollee in those states is two-thirds higher than in those with federal exchanges.

Angoff reported the total spent on all exchanges through March 31 had reached nearly $7.4 billion.

You may contact Pat at pmcguigan@watchdog.org .