NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Administration Adds Dental Plans to Its Obamacare Numbers

November 24, 2014

How many people signed up for Obamacare? While the administration in September said that 7.3 million had gotten insurance coverage through the exchanges (down from the 8 million that were reported in May), that 7.3 million figure included people who had signed up for dental -- not health insurance -- plans. Dental plans had not previously been included in government estimates. According to Alex Wayne at Bloomberg News, subtracting those dental subscribers brings the total number of insured down to 6.7 million.

The Obama administration had set of a goal of 7 million sign-ups.

Republicans with the House Committee on Oversight discovered that dental plans were included in the administration's figures when they noticed that some plans were reporting low premiums and often weren't receiving tax credits (dental plans, explains Wayne, do not receive tax credits unless they are also part of a health plan).

Why has enrollment fallen from the original 8 million figure? Some enrollees never paid their premiums to begin with, while other have stopped paying after a few months. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who chairs the House Committee on Oversight, does not think the administration mistakenly added dental plans to its 7.3 million estimate, calling it a "concerted effort to obscure a heavy drop-out rate of perhaps a million or more enrollees by quietly adding in dental plan sign-ups to exchange numbers."

Source:  Alex Wayne, "Obamacare Sign-Ups Were Inflated With Dental Plans," Bloomberg News, November 20, 2014. 


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