Despite $21 million spent on marketing the Affordable Care Act in Colorado, only 226 people have enrolled in the health coverage program in the first week, according to The Associated Press.
Colorado hopes to enroll 136,000 people in health insurance programs through its state-run health care exchange, Connect for Health Colorado, by the end of 2014. That the goal will never be met at the current pace of enrollments doesn’t seem to faze Obamacare managers.
“It’s going really well,” Ben Davis, the director of the Colorado-run health care exchange, told AP.
Critics would beg to differ.
“Look, if you spent $21 million on a bake sale and sold 10 dozen muffins, that would be a complete disaster,” Republican Rep. Cory Gardner said.
So far, Colorado has signed up less than half the number of people in seven days as tiny Rhode Island did in three. Kentucky, which is also running its own health-care exchange, enrolled 18,000 people in Obamacare by Oct. 9.
Colorado has about 350,000 uninsured residents who aren’t eligible for Medicare.
Still, Obamacare managers in Colorado are proving that they can find the silver lining in even the most dismal statistics.
“This is a much more complicated purchase than buying a T-shirt at gap.com,” Davis told the AP. “We expect people to take their time and really weigh their options, and that’s what they’re doing.”
As has been the case in other states, Colorado’s health exchange website experienced technical glitches and error messages, but officials said they were being addressed. And it seemed to be performing better than the federal website being used in 36 states — those portals have been beset with problems that don’t appear to be abating.
Davis said 18,000 people have set up online profiles in Colorado to allow them to start shopping for health care and Obamacare “navigators” have assisted 10,000 people who needed help with the system.
Most of the $21 million spent to advertise Obamacare in Colorado — which included TV and radio ads in both English and Spanish, billboards at Denver Broncos football games and other pricey buys — came from federal grants.
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