I didn't want to use the dreaded "Breaking!" so I went with the next best thing.
Administration to release Obamacare enrollment numbers at 3:30 p.m.
The Obama administration will on Wednesday release data on October enrollments through the federal health insurance exchange.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will release a report on the numbers at 3:30 p.m., and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will discuss the findings on a press call then. The numbers are for people living in states using the federal exchange and not state exchanges, which have slowly been releasing their data.
The White House has been trying to lower already low expectations for the numbers, as press secretary Jay Carney did, yet again, at his daily briefing Wednesday. "No one will be satisfied with the numbers because they will be below what we sought" prior to the launch of the website, he told reporters.
Carney said he hadn't yet discussed the numbers with Obama.
Before HealthCare.gov's Oct. 1 launch, the administration said it expected what it cast then as a conservative number of 500,000 people to sign up for coverage during the first month of open enrollment. Instead, the number's expected to be just a tenth of that -- more in line with the 40,000-to-50,000 total reported by the Wall Street Journal earlier this week.
In about 20 minutes we'll finally get the actual numbers, as opposed to the guessing-game figures compiled by:
ObamacareSignups.net (my own concoction): I have the blend of enrollments + applications at 221,422, plus another 588,884 Medicaid enrollments.
EnrollMaven.com: 96,281 actual enrollments in Platinum, Gold, Silver or Bronze plans only (no Catastrophic, no Applications, no Medicaid)
The Advisory Board Company: 195,227 enrollments out of 485,026 completed applications
Things to look for in the numbers:
--Will they include the state exchanges (as they should), or be limited to the federal exchange only (which would be stupid)?
--Will they include enrollments through paper applications, over the phone, etc (as they should) or ONLY include enrollments actually done through the website(s) alone (which would be stupid)?
--Will they include Medicaid enrollments (which they should, although these should be listed separately)?
--Will they include enrolled-but-not-paid-for-yet (which they should) or paid-for-only enrollments (which is just stupid...when you buy a new couch from a furniture store with a "no payments 'til 2014!" offer, they still book the sale this year)?
--Also, will the numbers released today only cover October 1-31, or will they include the first 12 days of November? This is extremely important, because the numbers from the past 2 weeks are likely to be higher than the first 4 weeks combined.
UPDATE: The official number for the first month is just over 106,000:
Only 106,000 people signed up for coverage in the new Obamacare exchanges as of Nov. 2, administration officials announced in the first official update of enrollment since the law’s troubled Oct. 1 launch.That's about 27,000 via Healthcare.gov, plus another 79,000 via the state exchanges.
One quarter of those people came through the flawed HealthCare.gov site, which is used by 36 states. The rest enrolled in the 14 states and Washington D.C., that are running their own enrollment system, most of which are generally operating much more efficiently than the federal site.
Also, 392,000 added to Medicaid/SCHIP:
An additional 392,000 people were deemed eligible either for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program under the law. The Medicaid interest far outweighs interest in the private insurance plans so far.So, that's 498,000 people who didn't have healthcare coverage before who do now, for whatever that's worth.
Update x2: Thanks to MTMofo for providing the link to the official HHS Report (PDF). Some key data:
--Number of completed applications through the Marketplaces 846,184
--Total number of individuals included in completed Marketplace applications 1,509,883
--Number of individuals determined eligible to enroll in a Marketplace plan 1,081,592
--Number of individuals who have selected a Marketplace plan 106,185
Aside from the 106,000 figure, the 1,081,592 number is the key one here--that's the number of people who are included in completed applications which just have to be actually processed.
Update x3: I'm busily transferring the STATE-level numbers from the PDF report over to ObamacareSignups.net for easier analysis.
UPDATE x4: OK, I've completed transferring the STATE-LEVEL numbers over to ObamacareSignups.net for easier analysis.
Things to note:
--THIS ONLY RUNS THROUGH NOVEMBER 2ND. Yes, the numbers are sucky, but there's ample evidence that the state exchanges, in particular, have really gotten their shit together starting a couple of weeks ago, so I'd expect the November numbers to be dramatically better than the October ones (plus, there's over 900,000 completed applications from October that have presumably been being processed since then).
--California enrolled a total of 110,883 people including Medicaid. New York added 40,306; Kentucky came in third with 34,262.
--My home state of Michigan is actually rather surprising compared with the other federally-run states: 6,307 including Medicaid.
Now, they've tried to put a positive spin on the numbers by noting the Massachusetts experience, which is, after all, exactly the model that the ACA was based on. Right on the very first page of the report it reads:
The first month enrollment experience in the Marketplace exceeds comparable first month enrollment in the Commonwealth Care program in the Massachusetts Health Connector. In Massachusetts, the number of premium-paying enrollees who signed up during the first month of enrollment was 123 or 0.3 percent of the total enrollment of 36,167 at the end of the year.I think that they were idiots for highballing expectations in the first place--if they were gonna use Massachusetts as their projection model, they should have done that THEN, not NOW; 0.3% of the 7 million figure would have been only 21,000 for the Federal + State exchanges combined.
If they had only projected around 25,000 signups in October in the first place--making the valid point that they expected people to mostly be browsing, shopping around, kicking the tires, etc.--then 106,000 could have been spun as a fantastic success (regardless of the website debacle).
Instead, by waiting until NOW to do so, they've completely lost control of the narrative.
However, the fact remains that half a million people who didn't have healthcare coverage before do so now, and a good 900,000+ more were queued up to be enrolled as of 11 days ago...with a lot more presumably added to that today.
I think they'll pull this off yet, but the messaging has been horribly botched...more so than the HC.gov website, IMHO.