CMS: 7.3M signed up for healthcare through exchanges

As of Thursday, 7.3 million people have both enrolled in and paid for health insurance plans, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner announced during a hearing of the House Oversight Committee, reports The Hill.

The announcement comes after a letter from Republican Senators John Barrasso of Wyoming and Tennesse's Lamar Alexander to Tavenner, requesting an update on how many people have enrolled in plans since implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Still, it's lower than the figure the Obama administration announced over the summer, when it said that 8 million people obtained health insurance through

CMS spokesman Aaron Albright said the 8 million figure might have been inflated by people who signed up more than once--for example, if an individual had more than one job during the enrollment period, according to The Hill.

Another factor that could affect the numbers: In May, there was a dispute over how many exchange consumers paid their premiums at the time, making them officially enrolled. A House Committee report said only 67 percent of enrollees had paid their first month's premiums as of April 15. CMS claimed 80 percent to 90 percent of enrollees have paid their premiums.

At the hearing, Tavenner said CMS does not know how many people signed up but failed pay their premiums, the National Journal reported. Those numbers might not come in until the end of the year, she said. 

For more:
- here's The Hill article
- read the National Journal report