Obamacare — December 6, 2013 at 1:40 pm

Obamacare Friday Update: 430K Private Enrollments; 1.6 Million Medicaid/SCHIP


A couple of weeks ago I posted a detailed analysis of how Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) enrollments are going so far. Starting today, every Friday I’ll be posting updated numbers here at Eclectablog. Full details can be viewed daily at ACASignups.net.


Roughly 27,000 Americans signed up for insurance on the federal exchange on Tuesday, according to internal figures, bringing the site’s three-day enrollment total to 56,000. That figure is more than double the number who enrolled online in the entire month of October, which was almost 27,000.

Needless to say, I’ve been scrambling to bring the ACASignups.net spreadsheet up to speed this morning:

Click for a larger version

It seems that the “December Spike” or “Post-Thanksgiving Surge” or whatever you want to call it that Pres. Obama and the HHS Dept. were hoping for is happening, and in a big way. The announcement that the biggest hurdles in the ongoing Healthcare.Gov website debacle have been resolved is no doubt a major part of this dramatic turn of events.

Between the 56K 12/01-03 news and new numbers out of several other states, the total number of *private enrollments* has shattered through 400K and now stands at a minimum of 435,000 (and California, along with several other states, haven’t reported full November figures yet). The Medicaid/SCHIP expansion tally now stands at 1.6 million, bringing the total number of people enrolled in either private or public plans thanks to the ACA to the 2 million mark.

In addition, there have been some other interesting updates:

  • According to a Washington Post article from last summer, a half-million Americans were *already* quietly moved onto Medicaid specifically thanks to the ACA long before the October 1st exchanges opened. The only specific numbers given are for DC (30K) and Minnesota (41K); California is mentioned as well, but that number is sort of mixed in with the other 600K LIHP number that’s already accounted for on the spreadsheet.
  • The “magic” 7 million private plan enrollment figure (which pretty much everyone discussing the ACA, including myself, has been touting as the goal to hit by 3/31/14) is actually not a “goal” but more of an estimate or projection. According to another Washington Post article from last week:
The 7 million number isn’t a goal so much as it’s an estimate. It comes from the Congressional Budget Office’s May 2013 projection of how many people would sign up for insurance under Obamacare. But that projection didn’t foresee two months of a non-functional federal health exchange. Or, to put it simply, that estimate is already wrong. It should be thrown out entirely.

Back in July, when Sarah Kliff and I asked the White House how they defined “success” in 2014, they always defined it as a function of the mix of people in the exchanges — the “ratio” — rather than the number of people in the exchanges.

So, if that’s the case, why am I still using the 7 million number as the end game? Two reasons: First, given the nature of the American media echo chamber, “7 million” has become baked into people’s heads; if that number (or close to it) isn’t achieved by the end of March, practically everyone will claim the ACA is a “failure” regardless of the reality of the situation. However, my second reason is quite simple: I think they’ll pull it off anyway…and I think the “young/healthy” enrollee ratio will be high enough to meet the requirements necessary to fund the program.

Get more details at ACASignups.net.