Econintersect: The Associated Press is reporting that 476,000 Obamacare insurance applications have been submitted in the first 18 days since the public exchanges opened (or tried to open). The number is reported to have come from Administration officials and covers all the various exchanges, state and federal. One of the factors in that has contributed to whatever success has been achieved is a 50% increase in employees manning call centers as the old telephone technology attempts to fill in for the computer system failures.
Other information reported by the AP:
- ...officials said technology experts from inside and outside the government are set to work on the glitches, though they did not say how many workers were being added.
- …the Obama administration has yet to fully explain what went wrong with the online system consumers were supposed to use to sign up for coverage.
- Interest in the insurance markets appears to continue to be high. Officials said about 19 million people had visited HealthCare.gov as of Friday night.
- …officials continue to refuse to say how many people have actually enrolled in the insurance markets. Without enrollment figures, it’s unclear whether the program is on track to reach the 7 million people projecting by the Congressional Budget Office to gain coverage during the six-month sign-up period.
- …officials did not want to be cited by name and would not discuss the health insurance rollout unless they were granted anonymity.
- Of the 476,000 applications that have been started, just over half have been from the 36 states where the federal government is taking the lead in running the markets. The rest of the applications have come from the 14 states running their own markets, along with Washington, D.C.
- The White House says it plans to release the first enrollment totals from both the federal and state-run markets in mid-November.
If the program were to continue accepting applications at the same rate as the first 18 days, at the end of the six month start-up period there would be 4.7 million applications for insurance accepted. This is far from sufficient to meet the 7 million new insured persons projected by the Congressional Budget Office for the initial enrollment period unless there are approximately 1.5 persons covered on average by each application. It is not clear from information available at this point whether that is the case.
The AP says the federal public exchange has had 19 million visitors to date, according to their anonymous sources. Of course almost all of these have not been able to get past the introductory screens.
Based on everthing Econintersect has found, there is no way to determine if there is anything real about the 476,000 applications number or if it might not just be wishful thinking.
- AP sources: 476,000 Obamacare applications filed (Yahoo News, Associated Press, 19 October 2013)
- Why the Government HIX is Dead as a Dodo (GEI News, 18 October 2013)
- Obamacare Struggles Forward (GEI News, 16 Ocotber 2013)
- HIX: Data is Hard to Find (GEI News, 09 October 2013)