by William Bigelow 23 Oct 2013, 2:55 AM PDT
In a bombshell revelation, a consumer sales manager for North Dakota’s largest health insurer said Monday that the Obama Administration asked Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota to hide how many people registered for health insurance through an online exchange that just went up.
James Nichol of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota told a forum in Fargo that the Obama Administration had made the request. The forum was designed for people who wanted to obtain coverage through the online exchange.
A spokeswoman from Blue Cross Blue Shield acknowledged that only 14 North Dakotans have registered for coverage since October 1, when the federal exchange hit the market. There have only been 20 enrollees in the entire state since October 1. When she was asked why Blue Cross eschewed its usual reticence and revealed its internal sales numbers, spokeswoman Andrea Dinneen said Tuesday that the troubled rollout of ObamaCare is a “unique situation.” Dinneen said she had no knowledge of the Obama Administration’s request for concealing any figures.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service, a federal agency that handles the federal marketplace, would not answer questions about Nichols’ statement or whether other insurers were asked to keep their numbers quiet.
Representatives from Medica and Sanford Health denied hearing anything from the federal government about hiding their numbers. They are the other two North Dakota companies that join Blue Cross in offering coverage on the federal exchange.
Sanford admitted they had six enrollees as of Tuesday. Medica said they had not verified their enrollment files so they couldn’t say how many people had enrolled.