Over 2.1 million have signed up for Obamacare: officials

WASHINGTON Tue Dec 31, 2013 4:38pm EST

The federal government forms for applying for health coverage are seen at a rally held by supporters of the Affordable Care Act, widely referred to as ''Obamacare'', outside the Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center in Jackson, Mississippi October 4, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman

The federal government forms for applying for health coverage are seen at a rally held by supporters of the Affordable Care Act, widely referred to as ''Obamacare'', outside the Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center in Jackson, Mississippi October 4, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Bachman

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More than 2.1 million people have enrolled in private health insurance plans through new federal and state websites since they were launched in October as part of President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.

While short of the 3.3 million enrollees that the Obama administration was hoping for by now, the number signing up for insurance is a dramatic improvement from the early weeks of the program, when barely 150,000 got coverage because of a series of technical problems with the federal website HealthCare.gov.

Sign-ups for what has become known as Obamacare gained pace during December as the website's performance improved, and as more Americans focused on getting coverage by the new year.

Many of the newly insured under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act enrolled just ahead of a December 24 deadline to receive benefits on January 1, giving health insurers a tight framework to create accounts that can be accessed by doctors.

About half the 2.1 million signed up for private health insurance on the federal website, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told reporters in a conference call. HealthCare.gov covers 36 states; another 14 states and the District of Columbia have their own healthcare websites.

Sebelius said that in October and November, another 3.9 million Americans were determined eligible for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program, although this included some renewals. Both are government-run programs serving low-income people.

HealthCare.gov crashed soon after its launch on October 1, as millions of visitors accessed the site, and remained balky for much of the ensuing weeks.

The disastrous rollout disappointed those who were trying to enroll in subsidized health insurance, and damaged the credibility of President Obama and his signature domestic policy achievement. Two officials have left the U.S. agency that was in charge of launching the website.

Administration officials hope they have turned a corner toward a better-working program that makes it possible for millions of Americans to get health insurance who did not have it before. People can still sign up until March 31 for coverage in 2014.

But the new year is expected to bring new challenges as many Americans begin to use their medical coverage for the first time. U.S. officials have said that some errors occurred with the transmission of enrollment data to insurers, especially early in the enrollment period.

"January 1st marks not only the beginning of a New Year, but an exciting new day in health care as millions of Americans will now be able to access care, thanks to the coverage they found at the Health Insurance Marketplace," Sebelius said in a blog posting on Tuesday.

"For many of the newly insured ... it will be the first time that they can enjoy the security that comes with health coverage," Sebelius said. She said the administration was doing everything possible to help with the transition period.

(Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Bill Trott)

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Comments (13)
Harry079 wrote:
I’m on week 3 of trying to complete my enrollment in ObamaCare.

Created an account with no problems on or about December 10th.

After completing the next section I received a “Notification” that I could not complete my enrollment until I verified my “Incarceation Status.” They want certified copies of my release papers from the institution I was incarcerated.

Since I have never been “Incarcerated” I called the Help Center and after an hour on hold I talked to a representative who informed me that they were still having glitches and someone would contact me in 3-5 business days between the hours of 7am-10am.

I waited 7 business days and no one ever contacted me so I again called the Help Center and after a hour on hold the representative suggested that I remove my first application and start over. I had her remove my first application and did as she instructed and was VERY careful with my wife present on how I answered all questions especially the one about being incarcerated.

After completing the new application I now have 2 notifications about being incarcerated. I again called the help center and got a guy named Donovan who was very helpful and was able to enter the plan I wanted and had to re-verify some information including about being incarcerated. He was able to push my enrollment application right up to the last step where it would not allow him to go any further.

He told me he would have their Tech Team work on my problem and to give them 24 hours to fix it. That was last Friday and although all my boxes are now checked the Complete Enrollment section I am locked out of due to multiple notifications of incarceration.

So yesterday I called AGAIN a a representative told me I either had to send them my “release papers” or upload a letter testifying that I am not incarcerated.

This morning I created a word document swearing by penalty of law that I’ve never been incarcerated but I can’t tell yet if it uploaded or not. I tried 3 times to upload it and will call them later to see if it went through.

I’m sure glad I don’t like to fly!

Dec 31, 2013 12:57pm EST  --  Report as abuse
indymind wrote:
It would be interesting to know how many of these signed up:
1. 5,000,000 tossed off their present policies by ObamaCare.
2. 40,000,000 to 45,000,000 without insurance.
3. How many were Medicaid sign-ups
4. How many are being subsidized by the taxpayers
5. How many had their rates double and their deductibles double or triple.
6. How many feel totally screwed by Machine Obama and its Progressive Liberal Socialist policies.
Sounds to me like when you add the those who have had their policies canceled and those who did not have insurance, we have gone backwards…not Forward as the Heap Big Chief promised.
Also, why does Sillybust still have a job?

Dec 31, 2013 1:17pm EST  --  Report as abuse
NEWAGER wrote:
So 5 million had their policies canceled due to Obamacare and 2 million have enrolled. That leaves a net deficit of 3 million people who had coverage before Obamacare, but now are uninsured. Way to go, Obama!

Dec 31, 2013 1:24pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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