According to a report in the Washington Post, roughly 40,000 people thus far have signed up for private health insurance through the broken Healthcare.gov website.
While there were no official predictions released by the White House as to the number of enrollees expected at this point, the 40,000 figure falls well below the administration's only known previous projections, taken from internal memos, showing an expectation of 500,000 enrollees for the month of October.
Notably, the 40,000 number does not include the roughly 440,000 who have been signed up for Medicare through Obamacare.
The low number of Healthcare.gov sign-ups thus far has been in line with the administration's expectations of underwhelming figures in the wake of the broken Healthcare.gov website. White House talking points have stressed that sign-ups were slow in Massachusetts when that state's healthcare reform — which is widely seen as a model for Obamacare — first began, too.
In comparison, 14 states and the District are operating separate exchanges, and an analysis released Monday by Avalere shows that about 49,000 people have signed up for coverage in those exchanges — representing about 3 percent of the eventual expected enrollment in those states. Although the state exchanges have varied in how easy they are to use, few have been marred by technical problems as severe as the federal HealthCare.gov. Of those exchanges, the District has had the smallest proportion of anticipated insurance-seekers sign up, with 300 people — or 1 percent — enrolled as of the end of last week. Richard Sorian, a spokesman for DC Health Link, said that “most people do not have the luxury of paying for coverage in October, months before a bill is due.” The analysis, however, includes people who have picked a plan but not yet paid for it.
The federal figures reflect the earliest — and in some cases, most persistent — of the Americans who have a six-month open-enrollment period, ending March 31, to buy insurance through the online federal marketplace. This exchange is intended primarily for people who do not have access to health coverage through a job, many of whom will be able for the first time to get government help in paying for insurance.
Under the health-care law, most Americans will be required to have insurance, and people who have not purchased any by the end of March will face financial penalties. The new insurance will take effect Jan. 1 for those who sign up by mid-December.