CBS: Just 50,000 Have Enrolled Through the Federal Exchange

CBS and the Wall Street Journal report that roughly 50,000 have
signed up using the federal exchange which covers enrollment in 36
states. That’s in addition to the 49,100 which Reuters reports have signed up in 12 states with their own individual exchange websites.

The official numbers for the federal site will be released sometime this week by the Department of Health and Human Services. If the new estimates are accurate, the numbers reported by CBS, the WSJ and Reuters demonstrate that the administration is far behind expected enrollment numbers.

The AP revealed more than three weeks ago that the administration’s target figure for the month of October was half-a-million people. This was considered a slow roll out, one which allowed for a ramp up as the enrollment period progressed into next year. Now it appears the actual total may be just 20 percent of that.

There have been reports from insurers for several weeks that the numbers enrolling through the site were low. The White House seemed to be trying to damp down such talk. Some insurers even indicated that the White House called and asked them not to release any numbers in apparent effort to keep the enrollment failure off the front pages.

The administration has put a private company in charge of fixing the problems with the website and has promised it will be up and running by November 30th. This date is already a full week past what some outside experts said was the drop-dead date for fixing the site, i.e. Thanksgiving. Assuming it is fixed by the end of the month that would leave just two weeks (until Dec. 15th) for people to sign up for coverage beginning January 1, 2014.

Even more worrisome for the administration, there are some indications that the number of problems hampering the site is not decreasing yet. Last week Sarah Kliff reported that new problems were cropping up as the old ones were fixed.