Obamacare State Exchanges Enroll Far Fewer Than Federal Site

Image: Obamacare State Exchanges Enroll Far Fewer Than Federal Site Tim Lagerhausen, left, and Shailesh Jain of Oracle join dozens of programmers attempting to complete the Cover Oregon website. The state was forced to use paper applications to the health insurance exchange when the online process failed.

Monday, 23 Dec 2013 07:29 PM

By Cynthia Fagen

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States running their own Obamacare exchanges are enrolling far fewer people than the federally-run HealthCare.gov website, Fox News reported Monday.

As of Nov. 30, most state-run exchanges had reached less than 10 percent of their enrollment targets for that date.

The state experiencing the most enrollment problems is Oregon. Its insurance website completely broke down after the Oct. 1 launch. It reportedly signed up 11,000 people for private plans after moving to a paper application system, but applicants then began receiving robocalls warning they should look elsewhere if they hadn't heard from the state by Monday in order to have coverage by Jan. 1.

In Massachusetts, the exchange signed up only 1,138 people. That's a fraction of a percent of the target of 250,000 by March 31.

Connecticut seemed to be leading the pack, achieving 35 percent of its signup goal, while Rhode Island had 22 percent of its residents enrolled.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration extended its deadline an extra day through Tuesday as the overloaded website continued to be plagued with technical glitches while a steady increase of people tried to complete applications.

On Friday, President Barack Obama said more than 1 million people had signed up since October on the federal and state exchanges. The goal is to have 7 million covered by the March deadline.

The success or failure of the Affordable Care Act could come down to how many people enroll in the state exchanges, says Dan Mendelson, founder of Avalere Health.

If enrollment numbers are low, the insurance market, which is relying on millions of young and healthy customers to offset the cost of accepting older and sicker customers, could have an economic disaster on its hands.

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