In November, 258,497 Americans selected health insurance plans through insurance exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act, according to data released this morning by the Department of Health and Human Services. That was up from 106,185 in October.
"Selected" means that the individual has enrolled in a plan but has not necessarily made the first premium payment necessary to activate the plan. Plans established by the Affordable Care Act are not effective until January 1, 2014, and premiums are not generally due until immediately before the plan start date.
The Obama Administration has frequently referenced a goal of 7 million signups for such plans by March 31, meaning the administration is only about 4% of the way to its signup goal. Still, the pace of signups may be accelerating based on leaked data for signups in the first two days of February.
An additional 803,000 Americans have been found to be eligible for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program, which are government health insurance programs for people with low incomes, since Oct. 1.
While Americans have until March 31 to enroll in health plans established by the ACA for 2014, they must enroll by December 23 in order to have those plans become effective on January 1, 2014, so for many Americans, a signup deadline is looming.
In a sign of the improving performance of the federal health care website (which serves 36 states) nearly half of November enrollments in private exchange plans came in those states. In October, over 3/4 of insurance enrollments came in the 14 states and the District of Columbia that operate their own exchange websites, even though those jurisdictions contain only 1/3 of the U.S. population.
In general, the states with the highest pace of signup operate their own websites. Nationally, less than 0.1% of Americans have enrolled in private insurance established by the ACA. But in Vermont, 0.8% have. That's followed by Connecticut (0.32%) and Kentucky (0.3%). If the national goal of 7 million signups is to be reached, those numbers will have to climb to 2.2% nationally.
The state with the lowest rate of signup is Oregon, where just 44 individuals have selected an Obamacare plan. Oregon operates a state-based insurance exchange website that is even more troubled than Healthcare.gov. Hawaii, another state that has had trouble with its state-based exchange, has produced only 444 signups.
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