In congressional testimony yesterday,
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
said that when the federal government releases its first set of
enrollment totals for Obamacare’s insurance exchanges next week,
the numbers will likely be “very low.” How low is very low?
An report on insurance enrollment in Delaware offers some idea.
Delaware is one of the 36 states in which the exchanges are being
administered by the federal government through the troubled online
according to the Associated Press, just four people have
enrolled in private coverage in the state. Only 31 people in the
state have submitted applications—and just 218 have created
accounts in the system. That’s…not a lot.
Now, Delaware is a small state, with less than a million
residents. But the single-digit enrollment total is still just a
tiny fraction of the state’s uninsured, which, according to
HHS, is about 71,000 people. For all practical purposes,
Obamacare has resulted in no meaningful impact on the state’s
enrollment totals so far. And that doesn’t even take into account
the potential effects of insurance cancellations in the state
(provided there were any). That’s a pretty miserable result given
that the state got $4 million in federal funding to pay community
organizations to assist with enrollment.
But, one might say, how much can Delaware really tell us? It’s
only one state—and it’s part of the deeply troubled federal
Yes, but it’s not the only one struggling to enroll people. Even
some states running their own exchanges are still having trouble as
well. Hawaii, which is running its own exchange, has had
serious trouble with its web system as well and
does not appear to have enrolled anyone. Oregon, which delayed
key functions of its state-run insurance exchange before the Oct. 1
still hasn’t managed to enroll a single person in private
Meanwhile, one big insurer is cutting back expectations for
enrollment all over. Humana, which is offering plans in 12 state
said yesterday that it was cutting its enrollment projections
in half, from 500,000 people down to 250,000. Given that the law’s
supporters say the law will require both a certain amount of
enrollment (about 7 million total) as well as a particular
demographic mix (about 40 percent of enrollees need to be young,
healthy adults) in order to function as intended, this isn’t
terribly promising news.
from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/11/07/delaware-has-enrolled-just-four-people-i