Report: Obamacare Had Just One Enrollee on First Day

Monday, 19 May 2014 07:03 PM

By Jason Devaney

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The Obamacare website rollout was so bad that only one person managed to enroll in a plan on the first day it was open for business, documents show.

Judicial Watch obtained a 106-page document through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services that reveals the dire start to the much-anticipated healthcare marketplace that was available for use starting Oct. 1.

The document says there were 43,208 accounts created on that first day, with one person being able to work through the numerous bugs in the system to actually sign up for a healthcare plan.

The document contains conflicting information, however. Brigid Russell, a senior adviser at the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, sent an email to a group at 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 1 announcing there were two enrollees. But the figure of just one sign-up is on the Oct. 1 report. It is possible the second enrollee signed up for a plan over the phone via the "Call Center" option.

On the second day, 48 percent of registrations failed as the website's servers became crippled under the traffic. There were 70,000 page views that day but only 5,000 unique visitors. The high number of page views — or "clicks" — could be caused, according to Judicial Watch, by users hitting the refresh button. The average wait time that day was 10 minutes.

Also on Oct. 2, problems with congressional members signing up for plans through the federal exchanges became clear. Marianne Bowen, a special assistant at the HHS, wrote an email to address the problem at 3:07 p.m. that day.

"The Congressional issue (68 attempts for Direct enrollment) was an issue stemming from incomplete applications being sent through (started, not finished, sent anyway) and the way the issuers are assigning unique numbers," Bowen wrote. "Turns out there were only 4 complete Direct Enrollment applications that went through, the other 64 were not complete."

Other numbers show the Obama administration's failure to hit its early enrollment goals. As of Oct. 31, for example, there were 1,319,425 accounts created but just 30,512 actual enrollments. That's a success rate of a little more than 2 percent.

On April 17, two days after the Obama exchanges closed until the next open enrollment period this fall, President Barack Obama said 8 million people had signed up for Obamacare health plans. Judicial Watch disputes that figure.

Judicial Watch quotes testimony by the America's Health Insurance Plans association, which appeared before the House Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight this month:

"Because of the challenges that surfaced with the launch of the exchanges in October 2013, some consumers were advised to create a new account and enroll again. As a result, insurers have many duplicate enrollments in their system for which they never received any payment."

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said:

"The Obama administration tried to cover this up, Congress failed to follow through, but we managed to get the truth about the $667 billion Obamacare website. Imagine what would have happened to Obamacare if the American people knew only one person was able to enroll on its first day? What other Obamacare failures is President Obama hiding?"

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