"There is no doubt the level of interest is strong. We expect enrollment will grow substantially throughout the next five months, mirroring the pattern that Massachusetts experienced," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said. They’re also numbers that will grow as the website, HealthCare.gov, continues to make steady improvements.”Signficantly, there were 19,500,000 unique visitors to Healthcare.gov in October. Of those nearly 20 million visitors, 846,184 completed an application and 26,794 selected a plan. Additionally, 3,158,436 people called call-centers. Interest in the exchanges is high, so getting the website fixed and capturing all those would-be customers is critical.
On a follow-up phone call, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stressed that interest: "In every part of the country, Americans are proving to be very interested. [...] The marketplace is working and people are enrolling." She said that we can "reasonably expect" these numbers to grow significantly as the deadline approaches, as the Massachusetts example shows. Enrollments there were slow to begin, but that experience shows that people want to take their time, research, and make an informed decision when they do sign up. "As more people shop and talk things over with their families, we expect these numbers to rise."
1:05 PM PT: In follow-up questions, Sebelius stresses "Don't wait until November 30 to sign up" because the site is working now, and you can work through navigators in person or use the phone: 1-800-318-2596. Reminder, the deadline for signing up to have coverage take effect January 1 is December 15.
1:09 PM PT: Sebelius doesn't have demographic to release yet as to who the early sign-ups are, whether there's a concern about adverse selection. Says that kind of information will be released later.
1:21 PM PT: In addition to these sign-ups, the administration announced that just over 396,000 people are now eligible for Medicaid.