Though official numbers for the federal Obamacare exchange aren’t out yet, states have begun to count for themselves — and it doesn’t look promising for the health-care overhaul.
South Dakota has had just 23 people enroll through the exchange so far, and Alaska has finally signed up just seven consumers, according to local reports on the federally run exchanges.
Enrollment figures for Healthcare.gov will be announced on a monthly basis, according to the White House, but it is not clear when the reporting will begin.
In light of the silence from the federal government, South Dakota’s Argus Leader contacted all insurers selling plans on the exchanges and found that just 23 people have actually signed up in over two weeks.
South Dakota has just three insurance carriers offering plans on the exchange. Avera Health has sold 21 plans, while the Sanford Health plan reported just two people signing up.
The state-run health care option DakotaCare has not recorded any enrollment so far.
Alaska has been especially affected by Healthcare.gov’s many glitches. Just two individuals have been able to sign up online, with the portal finally working on Monday and Tuesday.
The two Alaskans that did sign up online were employees of Enroll Alaska, a brokerage firm established last May to help guide Alaskans through the process of enrolling in health insurance.
Just five other individuals were able to enroll in the federally run exchange through community health centers throughout the state instead of the malfunctioning website, according to the Alaska Primary Care Association.
Enroll Alaska, a subset of Alaska-based employee benefits agency Northrim Benefits Group, has been disappointed by the results. Tyann Boling, the company’s chief operating officer, told the Anchorage Daily News that “with the amount that we’re trying, two is unfortunate.”
“Our hopes were to be enrolling 100 to 200 people a day,” Boling said.
Other federal exchanges have had similar difficulties. Wisconsin’s Officer of the Commissioner of Insurance reported Monday that “under 50” people signed up for individual plans as of Monday.
Dan Schwartzer, the deputy commissioner of insurance, told reporters that the number is “really a guess,” but came from calling each of the 13 insurance companies selling policies on the Wisconsin exchange.
Some are blaming the federal exchange’s extreme technical problems for why enrollment is so low.
South Dakota Division of Insurance assistant director Melissa Klemann told the Argus Leader that the site’s failures could still be keeping people out. “I have had staff trying to sign in on Healthcare.gov since Oct. 1 and we haven’t yet gotten into the system.”
Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius said that although the website had “some early glitches,” the system is “getting better every day.”
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