The latest administration figures show that 4.2 million people have selected health plans in the new insurance markets. Insurance industry officials at four of the big national health plans tell POLITICO that about 15 to 20 percent people who have signed up have not yet paid their first monthly premium — the final step to get coverage. […]While the biggest national insurers—Aetna, Health Care Services Corp., WellPoint and Blue Shield of California—say they can and have provided that information to the White House, there are hundreds of smaller companies on the exchanges around the country, and the information about just how many people have paid up just isn't available yet.
That contention prompted Republicans on Capitol Hill to launch an inquiry Thursday to determine how many Obamacare sign-ups are actually paying. House Energy and Commerce leaders sent letters to insurers in 36 states requesting details on the total number of customers who have begun paying premiums. […]
The White House insists that industry claims notwithstanding, it can’t provide precise enrollment totals — and may not be able to for months because major, “back end” components of HealthCare.gov are still under construction. Those pieces are supposed to collect data directly from insurers about the number of premium-paying customers on their rolls.
Right now, this appears to be a tempest in a teapot (gee, who could have imagined that House Republicans would start an inquiry into Obamacare, with the help of big insurance). At the same time, the administration needs to make getting the damned website done already so that this kind of hiccup can't be exploited.