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Thursday, October 03, 2013

Obamacare. Americans are not signing up.


Less than 1% of visitors are signing up for Obamacare on state health exchange websites

  • California's program registered an estimated 0.58 per cent of website visitors in its first day
  • A Connecticut congressman boasted that his state took 167 applications for Obamacare services on day one, a rate of 0.59 per cent
  • Obama administration won't say how many Americans signed up on the central website that covered insurance exchanges for 36 states
  • Kentucky's 5.3 per cent application rate seems to be the nation's highest
  • Other states wouldn't provide statistics, or tracked only the creation of new online accounts, not numbers of completed applications
As President Obama's signature health insurance overhaul effort began to enroll new participants on Monday, some states running their own insurance exchanges saw huge levels of website traffic but paltry interest in signing up.
California, the ultimate blue state whose federal lawmakers voted overwhelmingly in support of Obamacare, turned less than 1 per cent of its Web visits into 'Covered California' participants on Tuesday.

'We had over 5.7 million hits to our website as of 3 p.m. yesterday,' Covered California spokeswoman Kelsey Caldwell told MailOnline Wednsday. 
'7,700 consumers began their application process yesterday. ... 4,143 applications are pending,' she added. 'We received 23,269 calls yesterday to our service center.'
Caldwell couldn't say how many of the 5.7 million website hits were from unique Californians. But assuming 712,500 online visitors saw eight different Web pages each, the sign-up rate was 0.58 per cent.

Connecticut saw a similarly low rate of interest. Democratic Congressman Jim Himes tweeted after 8:30 p.m. Monday that his state's health exchange had 'received 28k visitors, and took 167 applications for health insurance. Day 1.'
That indicates just 0.59 per cent of Connecticut residents who sought information about their state's Obamacare program on Monday decided to become part of it, according to Access Health CT spokeswoman Kathleen Tallarita.

New York Department of Health executive director Donna Frescato said in a statement that 'more than 12,000 business owners and individuals from across the state have shopped online for low-cost health insurance plans ... and the site has received nearly 30 million web visits.'
A spokesman didn't respond to a request for clarification about whether those 12,000 people completed applications for health coverage. If they did, and if each 'web visit' corresponded to a New Yorker who saw 8 pages, the state's enrollment rate would be the lowest of all – 0.32 per cent.

The low numbers of new enrollees stand in stark contrast to the robust website traffic statistics, suggesting that day-one anxieties about non-functioning online portals may have been overblown.
Only 14 states have opted to run their own health insurance exchanges. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is handling signup duties for the other 36 states and the District of Columbia.

'Starting today,' President Obama said Tuesday during a White House Rose Garden event, 'you and your friends and your family and your coworkers can get covered, too. Just visit healthcare.gov, and there you can compare insurance plans, side by side, the same way you’d shop for a plane ticket on Kayak or a TV on Amazon.'
But his administration isn't saying how many Americans signed up online so far.

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