What's really driving unpaid premiums?

People who signed up for a Covered California health insurance plan may drop their coverage without paying their premiums because they found insurance elsewhere, according to a new analysis released Wednesday by the U.C. Berkeley Labor Center.

Researchers found 20 percent of exchange enrollees expect to move to employer-based insurance, while another 20 percent will experience a drop in income and become eligible for Medi-Cal. And about 2 percent to 8 percent of people signed up for Covered California will become uninsured within 12 months.

However, between 53 percent and 58 percent of Covered California enrollees likely will stay in an exchange plan for 12 months, according to the analysis.

With possible changes in plans and coverage, the question remains as to how many people actually have paid their premiums, reports Kaiser Health News.

The Chicago-based Blue Cross Blue Shield Association said on Wednesday 80 percent to 85 percent of its new customers are making premium payments, reports Reuters.

In February, 20 percent of people who signed up for health insurance didn't pay their premiums despite extended deadlines and remained without coverage earlier this year. Payment delinquency could stem from consumers not receiving invoices from insurers or people forgetting to disenroll after changing their minds about buying particular plans, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee said 87 percent of enrollees have paid their premiums. As people continue to move out of Covered California and Medi-Cali, others will move in, notes Kaiser Health News.

Some analysts believe the payment rate could improve later, as plans have more time to get a hold of individuals who haven't paid, reports the National Journal. However, if the payment rate remains at 80 percent to 85 percent, the true total of covered individuals would fall between 5.7 million and 6 million Americans.

For more:
- here's the Kaiser Health News article
- here's the full analysis (.pdf)
- read the Reuters piece
- check out the National Journal article