Obamacare “Enrollment” Totals Don't Tell Us How Many People Have Actually Enrolled

After weeks of refusing to reveal health plan
enrollment totals through the health insurance exchanges launched
in October, federal officials released Obamacare “enrollment”
numbers for the first time this afternoon. Except that they aren’t
real enrollment numbers.

According to the release, 106,185 people have “enrolled and
selected a Marketplace plan” from either a state-run exchange or
the federally facilitated exchange system operating in 36

The important words to notice in that sentence are “and

As a companion report on exchange activity by an office within
the Department of Health and Human Service explains, the 106,185
figure represents the number of “plan-eligible persons” who “have
already selected a plan by clicking a button on the website

That’s really just an awkward way of saying that the report
counts all the people who have done the equivalent of moving a plan
into their online shopping carts—regardless of whether or not they
have actually paid their first month’s premium yet. Given that
those who don’t pay won’t be covered, this means that the true
enrollment number so far is almost certainly significantly

The report does provide a sense of how much the federal exchange
network has struggled. Of the 106k plan selections, just 26,794, or
about 25 percent, came through the federal exchange system, which
includes Florida and Texas, two key large states where the
administration has
that enrollment is critical to the law’s success.

The report’s state-by-state breakdown of plan-selection totals
also offers some hints about the difference between the number of
people who have taken the step of “clicking a button on the website
page” and the number of people who have fully enrolled. For
example, the HHS report lists 97 people as having selected a plan
in the state of Delaware, one of the 36 states relying on a federal
exchange, between October 1 and November 2. But the Associated
Press reported last week that Delaware’s federally funded
guides have successfully managed just four total
 in the state.

Even the “selection” number doesn’t bode well for the law’s
success at getting people covered. Before the launch of the
exchanges, administration officials expected that
about 500,000 people
would enroll in private coverage through
the exchanges during October.

So we learned something from this release. But we didn’t learn
how many people had actually enrolled. 

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/11/13/obamacare-enrollment-totals-dont-tell-us

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