Health Care Enrollment Picks Up Steam As Troubled Website Recovers

Obama administration still hopes to reach ambitious enrollment goals

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Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, at an Organizing for Action grassroots supporter event in Washington, November 4, 2013.

Significantly more Americans purchased health insurance through new exchange websites in the second month of the new health care reform law than did during the first, according to a report Wednesday, an encouraging sign as the Obama administration seeks to recover from the botched rollout of its signature initiative.

Between Nov. 3 and Nov. 30, 258,497 Americans signed up for private health insurance through the health care reform law’s new exchanges, compared to 106,185 who signed up between Oct. 1 and Nov. 2, according to the report from the Department of Health and Human Services released Wednesday. An additional 803,077 people seeking coverage through the exchanges were found eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance program in October and November, the administration said.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Katheleen Sebelius, who asked her department’s inspector general on Wednesday to investigate the troubled launch of the site, is set to appear before a House health care subcommittee again on Wednesday.

While it appears that the pace of enrollment is speeding up, those seeking private insurance through the exchanges have less than two weeks to select plans to get coverage that begins on Jan. 1. Consumers must select plans by Dec. 23 for coverage beginning then.

The figures released on Wednesday do not reflect the full impact of what federal officials say is a vastly improved HealthCare.gov, the federal web site managing enrollment for 36 states. The site launched on Oct. 1 and was quickly hobbled by major computer problems. On Dec. 1, the administration announced it had made more than 400 software fixes that had enabled HealthCare.gov to operate well for what it characterized as “the vast majority of users.” Federal officials say HealthCare.gov can now accommodate 800,000 users per day.

Asked on a Tuesday conference call with reporters to provide a guarantee that all Americans seeking coverage through the exchanges will be able to do so by Dec. 23, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) declined to do so. She also declined to provide enrollment figures for the first week of December, when the federal government said HealthCare.gov was operating well. The spokeswoman, Julie Bataille, said CMS is “actively working” with insurance companies to resolve a worrisome problem with HealthCare.gov — that it has been transmitting correct consumer data to insurers. Bataille had previously said that the rate of electronic errors on HealthCare.gov applications sent to insurers had decreased from 25 to 10 percent. Consumer advocates and insurers have warned that these errors could lead some consumers to believe they have coverage when they do not. Bataille has said consumers should contact insurance companies directly to verify their enrollment through HealthCare.gov.

“We invite Americans whose experiences with HealthCare.gov have been frustrating to come back and try again,” Michael Hash, director of the HHS’s Office of Health Reform, told reporters. Despite the early slow pace of enrollment, Hash said HHS still believes it will meet a previous estimate that some 7 million Americans will sign up for private health insurance through the exchange by March 31 when an open enrollment period ends. “We think we’re on track and we will reach the total,” he said.

As in October, enrollment through exchanges being run by states outpaced sign ups through HealthCare.gov in November. As of Nov. 30, 137,204 people had signed up for coverage through the federal exchange, compared to 227,478 who signed up on state exchanges. Nearly half the state total occurred through California’s exchange.

The figures in Wednesday’s report include those who have selected private health insurance plans, even if they have no yet paid their first month’s premium, which is required for coverage to begin on Jan. 1.

43 comments
Fastgirl
Fastgirl

According to ProPublica only 15% of the number Sebelius is reporting  have paid their first month's premium. Sebelius admitted yeasterday that the numbers they are giving are the people that have selected a plan. Selecting a plan is a lot different than going throught the entire perocess and paying your premium.

notsacredh
notsacredh

As we transition from a corporate run America to a more workable system of socialism, the ACA is a good starting point. Single payer...here we come.

valentine.godoflove
valentine.godoflove

IN CAPS FOR THE ELDERLY.......DEFEND THE WEAK......KNIGHT TEMPLARS


YOGI.......WHY DON'T YOU.....BERRA IT....AND SEE IF IT FITS.....HETEROPHOBE.....


VALENTINE, COMEDIAN....LOL....LOL... 

AlphaJuliette
AlphaJuliette

Lol!  Aww, the GOP must be so disappointed now that the ACA website is working much better.  Nothing to complain about or point an accusing finger of blame to.

Sooooo disappointed!  Now, they actually have to do something constructive for the benefit of all to compete. 

Lol!

valentine.godoflove
valentine.godoflove

IN CAPS FOR THE ELDERLY.....DEFEND THE WEAK...KNIGHT TEMPLARS.....


ALL THE SICK, THE ONES WITH INCURABLE DISEASES.......THE ONES ON CLAIM......OF COURSE.....THEY ARE ALL ENROLLING......I DO NOT BLAME THEM....


IT IS LIKE YOU OPENED A FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY......AND EVERYBODY THAT APPLIED FOR A POLICY HAS A HOUSE BURNED DOWN ALREADY.....OR THE HOUSE IS BURNING......WHO IS GOING TO PAY FOR THE .......INSTANT LOSS AND CLAIM.......


YOU.....THE IDIOT HEALTHY........


THIS IS THE GREATEST PONZI SCHEME DEVELOPED BY THE NEO COMMUNIST , LEFTWING RADICAL DEMOCRATS.....CONGRATULATONS !!!!!


ARE ALL OF YOU IDIOTS OUT THERE?????.....I HOPE NOT...


VALENTINE, COMEDIAN....LOL...

Fastgirl
Fastgirl

At this rate it is going to be pretty difficult to get to the 7 million people needed to make OBAMACARE viable by March. Most are old, sick and Medicaid enrollees.The young healthy people that were supposed to pay for these groups are not signing up.  If this trend continues the already expensive premiums will escalate to the point where the people enrolled can't afford them.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

Fixing the website should be no problem. This country have sent man to the moon, sent unmanned space craft to Mars. What it cannot fix is the moral decay that have engulf this country. Having a President lie to people more than twenty times cannot fix tby the website. The increase of premium, the cancellation of policies, the change of doctors now with the non participation of some hospitals specializing in serious diseases like cancer can only aggravate the situation. But most of all after undergoing eight years under the most Incompetent Presdent for eight years would be very hard to repair the damage he had done.

TerryClifton02
TerryClifton02

Oregon spent $300 million dollars and a grand total of 44 people signed up last month..Yep, it's working just great..

 

yogi
yogi

The women's movement has made great strides in the old boys comedy club and then you go and ruin it.

tom.litton
tom.litton

I believe you mean NEO COMMUNIST , RIGHTWING RADICAL REPUBLICANS


It was an idea championed by the heritage foundation as an alternative to Hilary Clinton's healthcare plan in the 90s.


If your not for the republican's plan, then what are you for?  Single payer system?

TerryClifton02
TerryClifton02

1.4 million on the freeloading Medicaid plan, just 200, 000 paying customers have signed up so far. Just wait until the illegals get amnesty..Then we're all doomed.

drudown
drudown

@Fastgirl


Gee, I love how you PR drones proffer UNSUBSTANTIATED claims that cite "trends" that are completely FALSE and MISLEADING. The EVIDENCE unequivocally PROVES that since the ACA was enacted, Health Care costs have slowed to their lowest levels in DECADES (see, e.g.,  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/03/business/affordable-care-act-so-far-seems-likely-to-cost-less-than-expected.html ). Conspicuously, however, PR puppets like you keep disseminating the SAME LIES that the data is just the opposite.


Where's your proof?

tom.litton
tom.litton

Good, then we will be forced to go into a single payer system.  If ACA doesn't work, then it is, as far as i know, the only other option.

barneydidit
barneydidit

@Fastgirl For some, yes, the price will go up if the young and healthy don't sign up, but for most, it only means that the government will pay a larger subsidy in order to keep it affordable. There is an upper premium limit built into the ACA that was specifically put there in order to keep health insurance companies from pricing the product out of reach. The flaw in the calculation is that it's geared more toward individual coverage rather than families, but that can be fixed if necessary. 

Fastgirl
Fastgirl

@ReneDemonteverde There is a reason that the majority of Americans think that Obama is incompetent, untrustworthy, and a liar. It is because he has proven himself to be.

SDj
SDj

There's a difference between single payer and socialized medicine. And we already have both in the US to help specific segments of the population:

Single Payer = Medicare.

Socialized Medicine = Veterans Health Administration.


And those are even different than the public option. The following is a list that have a track record of being sustainable and expand health care. Market place only solutions have failed in many states. Listed in order from most market driven to socialist:


Means tested subsidies + market place + mandate (Romneycare, Obamacare).

Public option competing with private insurance. (some aspects of Hillarycare).

Single Payer. (Medicare).

Socialized Medicine. (Health workers are employees of government).

notsacredh
notsacredh

@Fastgirl, I'm very happy about that. I'm tried of being financially raped by a corporate healthcare system.

tom.litton
tom.litton

So whats the solution then?  Going back to when insurance companies are allowed to deny people life saving medical care because it's too expensive for them?  


I think you will find few people willing to do that.

Fastgirl
Fastgirl

I will let the posters decide for themselves whose information is correct on this site. I love how you Obamaites despite every fact that doesn't support your little narrative. I was talking about taxes and fees not healthcare costs. But since you mentioned it the only reason healthcare costs have gone down is because of our economy. As you all also like to point out to us OBAMACARE doesn't start until January 1 2014.

TerryClifton02
TerryClifton02

Nothing like begging for some Socialized Medicine to get the partisans all lathered up..

Fastgirl
Fastgirl

@barneydidit @Fastgirl " The government will pay a larger subsidy"........ No the taxpayer will be paying in the form of higher taxes. Where do you think the governmentt get its money to provide all of these "free" and "subsidizied" things? So young healthy people who sign up for OBAMACARE will be subsidizing the older, sicker, and Medicaid enrollees on the site. And if not enough young healthy people enroll they get to subsidize them again in the form of higher taxes. Hmmm....... Now that we have that cleared up all the young healthy people will go running to the OBAMACARE site to sign up.

drudown
drudown

@Fastgirl @ReneDemonteverde


Whatever, Betty Boop.


Let's juxtapose your alleged "poll data" to PROVEN instances of MISREPRESENTATION by the GOP, shall we?


Contrary to GOP promises, the alleged economic upside of the Bush Tax Cuts proved to be false and did not lead to a stronger Economy.


Contrary to GOP promises, the Patriot Act was not used for apprehending terrorists at all, but engaging in the largest, warrantless "dragnet" against LAW ABIDING, innocent US citizens with no connection to terrorism whatsoever. 


Contrary to GOP promises, there was no strategic benefits to the US in invading Iraq and Wolfowitz LIED when he said the "oil revenues alone will pay for the Iraq war."


So please. Spare the readers the notion that the "new" GOP has any semblance of credibility- not just on the Economy (e.g., if the GOP economic model "works", the US would've been "stronger" after the W era…not so)- but just in terms of this FABRICATED, wholly disingenuous GOP "guiding precept" that the People "don't really want" the State to AFFIRMATIVELY take measures to IMPROVE our lives, Military, Diplomacy and JOB PROSPECTS…but that the ACA does anything OTHER than what the EVIDENCE shows. Notably, for all your blustering, you cannot cite a SINGLE, reputable source to support your claims. 


 Tell me, how can the GOP Congress "outsource" our Blue Collar jobs and then REFUSE to renew Food Stamps and Unemployment and FILIBUSTER any and all prior Stimulus/Job Creation measures…and then, what, claim that President Obama isn't "doing enough" after FILIBUSTERING the very remedial measures he tried to implement? That is how asinine your GOP logic is and is very reminiscent of, say, after a Corporation cheats its own shareholders- it performs (ahem) "an internal investigation that found no evidence of wrongdoing". That is YOUR GOP model. It tries to OBSTRUCT government and then (drumroll, please) claim "government isn't working." No, your logic is unworkable because it too, is predicated on the same LIES that got the US into Iraq. 


This is (ahem) the "same GOP Congress" that is CASHING checks OUR tax revenue funds and yet, despite this, they are "opting" to work FOUR DAYS in all of December…and still haven't conclusively produced a Budget in 3 years.


What a joke.

barneydidit
barneydidit

@Fastgirl @ReneDemonteverde And meanwhile they're opinion of Republicans is what again? Until Conservatives can come up with a viable alternative to the ACA, all they can do is exactly what you've demonstrated with your post- whine about a problem, without providing a solution. 

tom.litton
tom.litton

I don't think that's true (strictly speaking), but fine.  It's socialized medicine.  So what?  Why is that bad?

Fastgirl
Fastgirl

 Socialized medicine is, medical and hospital care for all at a nominal cost by means of government regulation of health careand subsidies derived from taxation. It says nothing about health workers being employees of the government. So stop your propaganda. Single payer, universal health care and socilaized medicine are all the same thing. Until you are honest about this there will never be an honest debate about this. Probably your objective.

Fastgirl
Fastgirl

@SDj Socialized medicine is, medical and hospital care for all at a nominal cost by means of government regulation of health care and subsidies derived from taxation. It says nothing about health workers being employees of the government. So stop your propaganda. Single payer, universal healthcare and socilaized medicine are all the same thing. Until you are honest about this there will never be an honest debate abut this. Probably your objective.

Fastgirl
Fastgirl

@sacredh @Fastgirl So then be honest and call it what it really is. The reason you don't is because you know the majority of Americans won't buy what you are selling. Just like the reason Obama lied about OBAMACARE was because he knew the majority of Americans wouldn't buy what he was selling and he wouldn't have gotten relected. He should have told the American people that OBAMCARE is about taking resources from the middle class and giving them to another segment of our population. It is not about providing insurance for everyone and it isn't affordable.

tom.litton
tom.litton

I've thought about it, and i've got nothing, nor do i know of anyone that has anything.  But i'm not an expert.  So again, if there is another viable plan, then please enlighten us.

Fastgirl
Fastgirl

@tom.litton Fear mongering as usual. Maybe there is a better solution halfway between your fear mongering and the disaster, OBAMACARE. Bet you never thought of that.

tom.litton
tom.litton

The report specifically said it couldn't all be because of the downturn in the economy.

TerryClifton02
TerryClifton02

drudown is a paid astroturfer..His employer pays him to post positive spin on Obamacare..Pay no mind..

drudown
drudown

@Fastgirl


Is that so? 


Hmm. You know, when the same readers are sitting on a jury- that is, weighing the evidence- one party's refusal to ANSWER the kind of direct questions that I presented to you (i.e., please show ANY verifiable EVIDENCE or DATA to corroborate your unfounded claims that I JUST REFUTED with EVIDENCE and DATA) is, in fact, an ADMISSION that you are LYING. 


As such, perhaps it is instructive to review the appropriate jury instruction- that is, the CA jury instruction that holds "if you find that the witness has testified untruthfully regarding any material point, you may disregard the rest of his/her testimony in its entirety."


So which is it, Fastgirl? Are you going to put your cards on the table or not?


CALJIC 2.21.2 expresses this:

"A witness, who is willfully false in one material part of his or her testimony, is to be distrusted in others. You may reject the whole testimony of a witness who willfully has testified falsely as to a material point, unless, from all the evidence, you believe the probability of truth favors his or her testimony in other particulars."


As an aside, what relevance does the January 1st 2014 start date have if, for example, I JUST PURCHASED MORE COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGE this month for $380.77 [Gold level PPO]? Gee, my pre-ACA insurance quote of $762- that arguably EXCLUDED Health Care coverage for the area I NEED IT THE MOST is "better"?


Again, show us some reason and analysis as you try to "defend" the indefensible. Your conclusory statements with no evidence to support them just dig a deeper hole. What are you afraid of sharing the alleged "truth" for?


"True nobility is exempt from fear." - Shakespeare 


tom.litton
tom.litton

If there is a better solution, then lets hear it!

TerryClifton02
TerryClifton02

fees? You mean taxes.. The only reason the albatross got through the Supreme Court was because Obamacare is just one big TAX! Stop choking on the Kool-Aid.

drudown
drudown

@Fastgirl


Readers deserve that you a modicum of EVIDENCE to support your outlandish conclusion that are wholly fabricated. Show us the evidence. 


Let’s try to just be “objectively honest”, shall we, so we can categorically resolve this feigned “dispute”?


Either the recently released data tends to prove that since the ACA was enacted, Health Care costs have slowed to significant levels, or the data is what you claim it to be.


See, e.g.,

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/03/business/affordable-care-act-so-far-seems-likely-to-cost-less-than-expected.html?_r=0

Now then.

My claim that the ACA is SLOWING Health Care costs is corroborated by the following evidence highlighted in the New York Times and many, many other reputable, independent sources because, with no particular surprise in so observing, the ACA’s competitive pricing component, coupled with improving upon the “proven” model in MA, tend to make Health Costs, well, more affordable.

Sorry, even early, NON-BIASED studies readily concluded the same and, as such, predicted the same result that I am corroborating:


See, e.g.,

http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/412665-Despite-Criticism-The-Affordable-Care-Act-Does-Much-to-Contain-Health-Care-Cost.pdf

As any reader can see, my conclusions comport with reality. Yours are unfounded gibberish until you proffer any evidence. Yet none supporting your conclusions exists.


“Truth fears no trial.” - Thomas Fuller, M.D.

tom.litton
tom.litton

That's not how exemptions work.  You understand that right?

Fastgirl
Fastgirl

You must have missed the SC decision. OBAMACARE is a tax according to the justices. Already Obama has changed the bill at least 20 times. The unions were just given an exemption on one of the taxes which mean the rest of Americans end up paying more.

tom.litton
tom.litton

It's a much better use of resources then subsidizing oil companies.

barneydidit
barneydidit

@Fastgirl Read the Bill fastgirl...the ACA is paid for through a variety of avenues, but none of them are simply "increased taxes". Cuts to Medicare Advantage, increase in Cadillac policy fees, and an increase on what high end earners pay on the Medicare tax are the primary methods the ACA is paid for. 

Fastgirl
Fastgirl

In the latest Democratic leaning Quinnipiac poll Obama's job approval among Americans drops to a new low, 38 - 57%. The poll also found that the outlook for Democrats running for Congress and the U.S. Senate fades. Obama is underwater in the same poll, -19. His approval is declining with voters in the 18-to-49-year-old range, who only give him a 41 percent approval rating. His approval among Hispanics has fallen to 50%, the survey found. By a 47-42 percent margin, respondents also said they’d rather Republicans take control of the both the Senate and the House.

Fastgirl
Fastgirl

You need to be honest for a change. The Republicans presented a lot of ideas to Obama before the bill was passed soley by Democrats. Obama didn't like any of the ideas which is a lot different than not having any ideas. Why didn't he like any of the ideas? Because they didn't take assests from the middle class and give them to another segment of the population which is what OBAMCAREdoes. OBAMCARE is not about providing health insurance for everyone. It is not about making premiums come down an average of $2500 per family. Americans were sold a bill of goods by Obama and the Dems and the majority of Americans know it. Not a good feeling to know you have been lied to and betrayed by your president.