Obamacare Enrollment Hits 3 Million

Enrollment is only slightly behind schedule, despite website’s early woes.

President Barack Obama smiles while making a statement with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius while making a statement in the briefing room at the White House on February 10, 2012 in Washington, DC. President Obama announced a reversal of his administration's health care rule requiring religious employers to provide women free access to contraception.
National Journal
Sam Baker
Add to Briefcase
Sam Baker
Jan. 24, 2014, 7:21 a.m.

Obama­care en­roll­ment is only slightly be­hind ex­pect­a­tions, fol­low­ing a surge in en­roll­ment that has brought the total num­ber of sign-ups to 3 mil­lion.

As of this week, 3 mil­lion people have signed up for private cov­er­age through the Af­ford­able Care Act’s in­sur­ance ex­changes, the Health and Hu­man Ser­vices De­part­ment said today. The fig­ure in­cludes state-run mar­ket­places as well as the 36 states us­ing fed­er­al ex­changes through Health­Care.gov.

The fig­ure puts Obama­care en­roll­ment much closer to its ini­tial tar­gets. It’s now ef­fect­ively about a month be­hind sched­ule—des­pite los­ing the bet­ter part of two months to the tech­nic­al prob­lems that ini­tially plagued Health­Care.gov.

Be­fore the site’s launch in Oc­to­ber, the White House had hoped to hit 3.3 mil­lion sign-ups by the end of the year. So, hit­ting 3 mil­lion people about three weeks in­to Janu­ary is still tech­nic­ally be­hind that pace—but not by much.

The ini­tial tar­get was to en­roll about 7 mil­lion people by the end of the open en­roll­ment peri­od. Al­though the White House has since dis­owned that es­tim­ate, it’s on pace to get close to that tar­get by the time the en­roll­ment win­dow closes in March.

En­roll­ment has surged since Health­Care.gov‘s user ex­per­i­ence be­came func­tion­al, re­as­sur­ing White House of­fi­cials that the site’s troubled launch did not turn people off to the over­all concept of ex­plor­ing their op­tions for health in­sur­ance.

Al­though get­ting mil­lions of people covered is the broad pur­pose be­hind health care re­form, the law’s ba­sic sur­viv­al—at least for this year—de­pends more on who signs up. The mar­ket­places need healthy con­sumers to off­set the cost of guar­an­tee­ing cov­er­age to people with pre-ex­ist­ing con­di­tions.

Young adults—who are pre­sumed to be the health­i­est en­rollees—made up roughly 25 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion that had signed up for cov­er­age through the end of Decem­ber. The ini­tial tar­get was closer to 38 per­cent, but young people were al­ways ex­pec­ted to sign up late in the pro­cess, and even 25 to 30 per­cent is prob­ably enough to keep premi­ums re­l­at­ively stable, ac­cord­ing to es­tim­ates from the Kais­er Fam­ily Found­a­tion.

What We're Following See More »
FCC Tightens Internet Privacy Standards
9 hours ago

Along party lines, the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday voted to tighten privacy standards for Internet service providers. "The regulations will require providers to receive explicit customer consent before using an individual’s web browsing or app usage history for marketing purposes. The broadband industry fought to keep that obligation out of the rules."

Obama Commutes Another 98 Sentences
10 hours ago

President Obama commuted the sentences of another 98 drug offenders on Thursday. Most of the convicts were charged with conspiracy to distribute drugs or possession with intent to distribute. Many of the sentences were commuted to expire next year, but some will run longer. Others are required to enroll in residential drug treatment as a condition of their release.

DOJ Busts More Than 50 for Call Center Scam
10 hours ago

The Department of Justice announced today it's charged "61 individuals and entities for their alleged involvement in a transnational criminal organization that has victimized tens of thousands of persons in the United States through fraudulent schemes that have resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in losses. In connection with the scheme, 20 individuals were arrested today in the United States and 32 individuals and five call centers in India were charged for their alleged involvement. An additional U.S.-based defendant is currently in the custody of immigration authorities."

Clinton Up 9 in USA Today Poll; Up 3 According to Fox
14 hours ago

A new USA Today/Suffolk University poll finds Clinton leads Trump by 9 points nationwide, 47% to 38%. A Fox News national poll has Clinton up just three points, 44% to 41% over Trump.

Cruz: Eight Justices Could Be an Ongoing Situation
16 hours ago

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said that "there was “precedent” for a Supreme Court with fewer than nine justices—appearing to suggest that the blockade on nominee Merrick Garland could last past the election." Speaking to reporters in Colorado, Cruz said: "I would note, just recently, that Justice Breyer observed that the vacancy is not impacting the ability of the court to do its job. That’s a debate that we are going to have.”


Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.