Initial reports show HealthCare.gov enrollment lower than expected

Print
Email
|

by STEPHANIE CONDON / CBS NEWS

KMOV.com

Posted on November 12, 2013 at 4:45 AM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 12 at 8:08 AM

 (CBS News) --Around 50,000 people so far have reportedly successfully enrolled in a private health insurance plan via HealthCare.gov, according to the Wall Street Journal and CBS News’ confirmation from industry analysts.

Combined with the reported enrollment data from state-run Obamacare marketplaces, the enrollment levels in the new health insurance programs appear, so far, to fall well below the Obama administration’s expectations.

According to a September memo, the administration initially anticipated that nearly 500,000 people would sign up for a private insurance plan on the new marketplaces by the end of October, after one month of open enrollment. The open enrollment lasts through March, by which point the administration expected to have 7 million enrolled.

However, enrollment has been slowed down significantly by the technical problems plaguing HealthCare.gov—the site serving as a portal to the new marketplaces for consumers in 36 states—as well as some state-run Obamacare websites. On the first day of open enrollment, just six people successfully enrolled in a plan via HealthCare.gov.

The Obama administration has said it will release official enrollment figures this week, and they expect them to be low. However, the administration declined to confirm the numbers reported by industry analysts and the Wall Street Journal.

“We cannot confirm these numbers,” Health and Human Services Department spokeswoman Joanne Peters said in a statement to CBS News. “More generally, we have always anticipated that initial enrollment numbers would be low and increase over time... And, as we have said, the problems with the website will cause the numbers to be lower than initially anticipated.”

The reported 50,000 enrolled on HealthCare.gov so far does not include customers who used the website to learn that they qualify for the new version of Medicaid, a government-run program for low-income people.

In addition to the reported 50,000 enrolled on the federal site, another roughly 49,000 people have signed up for private insurance through state-run Obamacare programs, according to an analysis from Avalere Health.

While only around 50,000 have reportedly enrolled, the administration has pointed out repeatedly that more than 700,000 people have completed applications on HealthCare.gov—the first step in enrolling in a plan. Furthermore, they have justified the low enrollment numbers by making the case that most will wait until the end of open enrollment to sign up. When Massachusetts unveiled its health insurance marketplace in 2006, just 123 people signed up in the first month.

The botched HealthCare.gov rollout continues to draw scrutiny from both Democrats and Republicans in Congress. Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C.—who is up for re-election in 2014 -- is circulating a letter among her colleagues that asks the administration for a full investigation into the website’s launch, her office confirms to CBS News.

Print
Email
|