Obama administration expected half a million to enroll in exchanges in first month

Caroline May | Reporter

The Obama administration expected nearly half a million people to enroll in the Obamacare exchanges in the first month, according to a Sept. 5 internal memo obtained by The Associated Press.

The memo reportedly lists enrollment goals for each state and, as the AP notes, if the glitches with the exchange website continue, the targets might end up out of reach.

While the Obama administration has said it will not be releasing enrollment numbers until mid-November, its nationwide sign-up estimate for Oct. 31 was 494,620. According to the report, that nearly half million figure was seen as a “low.”

By Dec. 31, the administration expected 3.3 million would have enrolled. The administration projected 7 million enrollees in the program’s first year.

The Obamacare exchanges opened on Oct. 1. The primary sign-up location online, however, opened to myriad problems and glitches that have continued throughout the month — with many would-be consumers unable to sign up.

The administration has been working since the launch to hammer out the issues. However, the surge in initial interest has waned, with web traffic to the site dropping 88 percent Oct 1 – Oct. 13, according to The Washington Post.

According to an analysis by Millward Brown Digital, a division of the market research company Kantar group, while the federal exchange website received 9.47 million unique visits, just 36,000 completed enrollment in the first week. The numbers do not include the states running their own exchanges or people who signed up offline.

The Atlantic estimates that at least 115,000 people completed applications through the state-based exchanges in the first two weeks of the exchange.

The AP compared some of the state-run projections in the memo with some of the data that has been released to far:

California reported 16,300 applications processed as of Oct. 5. The memo projects 91,000 people will enroll in the state by the end of the month.”

Kentucky reported 18,351 applications processed as of Oct. 9. That would exceed the memo’s projection of 15,400 for the month.”

Washington state reported 24,949 applications processed as of Monday, a little more than the memo’s October projection of 23,800.”

Maryland reported 566 applications processed as of Oct. 6, compared with 10,500 projected for the month by the memo.”

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