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HealthCare.gov had 3.7 million visitors last week in 4 and a half days!

http://www.hhs.gov/...

"This week, the site remained stable and experienced no unscheduled downtimes.   The average error rate was 0.77% and response time averaged well under 1 second"
The queuing system was deployed only twice, once Monday when response times slowed and error messages rose, and once proactively on Tuesday ahead of the President’s remarks on health care. During these two periods more than 16,000 consumers--out of 3.7 million visitors over the 4 and a half day period-- were put into the new queuing system to request an email notification on when to come back. Over 93% of those who got the email to come back did so and had high levels of engagement across the site, browsing 30% more pages and spending 15% longer on the site.

I am no expert but I think that 7 million enrollments is coming, maybe not by March 31, but maybe even by then.  3.7 million visitors shows that there is a tremendous thirst for health insurance--and that the healthcare.gov site could handle that number.

Greg Sargent at the Washington Post said in his Plum Line blog that the insurance companies have budgeted one billion dollars to push people toward the ACA website, and that they have not started the ads yet.  I imagine they do not want to trigger a flood of faulty 834s. But my guess is that they will start their advertising onslaught within a week or two. Needless to say, the insurance companies will be targeting young and healthies very aggressively.  

Also see this Huffington Post article on the administration and allied organizations' push to get people enrolled:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

I believe that the 834 problems are in the process of being fixed.  This can hardly be rocket science as so many companies have figured out how to send 834s. It will be a painstaking process of going through code and going through forms to seek out errors, but it will be fixed.

I have not seen any specified argument as to why the 834s can not be fixed, and the administration says that errors are now below 10 percent.  Bugs can be debugged.  It is a race between debugging the 834s and the rise in enrollments that this high traffic tells me is coming.

I think that large enrollment through the ACA has the capacity to create a major shift in the political landscape -- one highly unfavorable to Republicans.  It may be Democrats who are running on the ACA in 2014.

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Comment Preferences

  •  three point seven million..... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brainwrap, Larsstephens

    Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
    I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
    Emiliano Zapata

    by buddabelly on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 09:38:43 AM PST

  •  Please Correct your Title (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brainwrap, Larsstephens
  •  Awesome news, and I realize this may sound (6+ / 0-)

    ...rather self-important of me, but I'd strongly recommend that any diaries of this nature include a link to the ACASignups.net spreadsheet that I've been compiling since early October with the help of a dozen other Kossacks.

    Helps keep things in perspective, in terms of both good and bad news.

    •  good idea, I probably should have (5+ / 0-)

      especially since I check your site at least once a day! But the premise of my diary (one that is not provable, but one which I think the very high site volume strongly suggests) is that past enrollments are not a good guide to future enrollments due to improvements on the site.  I think there is going to be a big surge in enrollments, especially private enrollments, between early December and December 23.

      I do love your site.  It is really astounding to compare the figures for different states, and the different ratios of private to Medicaid/Schip enrollments for differernt states.

      •  hey brain, are those numbers (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brainwrap, Larsstephens

        per person or per application?  That 27k number from Tuesday might translate to 50k+ people if it's the latter.

      •  Thanks much; again, I know it sounds boastful (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ruellia, Larsstephens, MKSinSA

        ...it's more that I'm just amazed that I'm the only one doing this--that is, there are two other sources keeping track (EnrollMaven.com and Kaiser Family Foundation), but one of them doesn't include Medicare at all and has a horrible interface, and the other one is 2-3 weeks behind.

        I'm stunned that, say, the NY Times or Washington Post aren't doing this ongoing state-by-state tracking. Given all the breathless reporting about the ACA, you'd think the majors would be doing something like this...

      •  4 reasons to be optimistic (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ybruti, Brainwrap, ruellia

        I think the numbers are really going to take off.  In addition to the fact that Healthcare.gov is working, there is the direct enrollment pilot program in Texas, Florida, and one other state.  My optimistic assumption is that pilot program is going to be expanded, creating significant capacity for people to enroll directly on health insurers' websites with subsidy eligibility.  

        Second, it has always been part of the plan to have commercial online brokers, such as ehealthinsurance.com, enrolling people.  So my optimistic assumption is that that is going to happen, again enlarging the capacity to enroll people online.

        Third, there is Virginia, which recently elected a Democratic governor, Terry McAuliffe.  While the Republicans still hold the legislature in Virginia, my optimistic assumption is that under McAuliffe's leadership, Virginia most definitely will not be competing for last place in terms of the number of enrollments.  Virginia has a real need; it is one of the states where Remote Area Medical still does free clinics.
        http://www.ramusa.org/...
        Virginia is going to come on strong.

        Fourth, is the basic nature of websites.  Once they are up and running properly, they plug away 24/7.  So if Healthcare.gov can handle 50,000 people at a time, and it takes people on average two hours to enroll and select a plan, my rough calculation is that it can enroll  24/2 X 50,000, or 600,000 a day.  So that is what I ultimately expect to see.

        Brainwrap, I hope you can hold on and see this through.  If you do, you will have a lot of fun.

    •  do you know (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brainwrap, ruellia, Larsstephens

      if the numbers are per person or per application?  That 27k number from Tuesday could translate to 50k+ people if it's the latter.  

      •  Some are People, others are Applications (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Larsstephens

        It's a mish-mash depending on the report, the reporter, the state and so on. As a result, some of the numbers could be over twice as much, but I won't know for sure until the next HHS report is released.

        •  one more thing (0+ / 0-)

          I think your WA private enrollee number is off (61k).

          •  The newspaper article with the relevant (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Brainwrap, MKSinSA

            information has this regarding Washington state's numbers:

            A total of 176,468 residents enrolled in coverage through Healthplanfinder in October and November, the first two months of open enrollment for coverage in 2014. That figure includes 18,131 residents who bought private health-insurance policies, known as “qualified health plans”.... In addition to the more than 18,000 residents who have purchased qualified health plans, more than 43,000 have completed applications. The only remaining step for that group is submitting payment, which is due by Dec. 23 for coverage that begins Jan. 1, 2014.
            In many states, "selected a plan" equals "enrolled". To be enrolled does not necessarily mean paid the first premium. If you add 18k + 43k you get the 61k on the spreadsheet.  The article continues, showing the importance of Medicaid Expansion:
            More than 91,000 are newly eligible for Medicaid because of expanded eligibility that takes effect Jan. 1, 2014. More than 66,000 enrollees qualify for Medicaid under the current guidelines and will receive immediate coverage. Officials project that about 130,000 residents will purchase qualified health plans by Jan. 1, 2014
            http://blogs.seattletimes.com/...

            The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

            by ybruti on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 05:32:45 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  According to the Medicaid report for October, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Larsstephens, Brainwrap

        "total applications for financial assistance received by state Medicaid and CHIP agencies" may include more than one individual per application. In October, there were 2,479,114 applications in 50 states, but the "total individuals determined eligible for Medicaid and Chip" were 1,460,367. http://www.scribd.com/...

        The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

        by ybruti on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 11:46:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Smells like ... Victory! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens, MKSinSA

    The Republicans have lost.  Now, all we need is the small business employer system to come online.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Riane Eisler

    by noofsh on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 10:59:30 AM PST

  •  encouraging news (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brainwrap, Larsstephens, MKSinSA

    just a reminder that meeting that 7 million target will require something like 35k (someone else did the math, can't remember the exact number) enrollees per day on the federal site alone.  We really need to start hitting that number in December.  

    I realize that the target is a somewhat arbitrary number, but meeting and exceeding it would be amazing for PR purposes (think 2014).  It'd also be a rebuke to the GOP and the media.  

    •  Guessing when and how much (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OrangeMike, MKSinSA

      I honestly think the demand is there and if the site can stand up to 800,000 visitors a day as it is doing now and if people accept the queuing system, which 93% of those who asked for an email notification did, I do not see why we should not enroll 35k a day.

      What is so promising about the 3.7 million visitors (three point seven million, I repeat for my sins) is that it is occuring in the face of massive negative coverage.  Consumers are being told that the site won't work, that it enables criminals to steal their social security number, that it gives the IRS power over them, that they will spend hours getting their documents together and completing their application and that it will then vanish into the ether and the insurance company will never get it.  They are being told that the networks will not include their doctors and only the crummiest hospitals and providers.  They are not only being told this by the right.  The MSM is faithfully repeating this, so consumers are being discouraged by media they trust.  And they are coming to the site in droves.  Fear of bankruptcy and fear of illness and death are powerful forces.

      But who knows.  Maybe a genius hacker will hack the site or some horrific new bug will arise.  We will fix that, too, but who knows what ghastly new media onslaught awaits us.

  •  That could mean anything, though (0+ / 0-)

    You don't want 3.7M visitors checking out your insurance Web site and then leaving in disgust. Nor do you want a naive approach to counting unique visitors that doesn't take into account foreignness, bots, etc. (What's that you say? The IT team wouldn't be that naive? Well, the team hasn't exactly demonstrated itself to be a beacon of IT credibility, has it?)

    The real measure of success for ACA is the number of enrollments and the diversity of enrollments, Medicaid not included. Number and diversity are still poor and very much behind schedule, last I heard from non-graveyard-whistling analyses. If that doesn't improve, the current, seemingly secure number of enrollments will be on very shaky ground because the insurance companies will spike prices in response to a smaller, highly skewed risk pool.

    •  Medicaid is a major pillar of the ACA. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      antooo, MKSinSA, steve2012, ruellia

      Its strengthening through Medicaid Expansion is bringing healthcare to millions of childless adults, etc.  The increase in people signing up for Medicaid is an important measure of the success of the ACA.

      The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

      by ybruti on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 02:14:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The importance of Medicaid Expansion (0+ / 0-)

        I completely agree about Medicaid, and the stories of people who have had no coverage for decades are heart-rending. But I am very hopeful that private applications will surge as well.  They are getting plenty of private applications in Kentucky, and Mass. did with Romneycare as well.  The private applications just came later in the process.

        But of course we shall have to wait and see.

      •  An important element of Medicaid expansion (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ybruti

        is that even in states that refused it, the publicity has led to more people signing up for existing Medicaid programs that they were eligible for but did not know about.

        I want video of Republican heads in those states exploding.

        Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

        by Mokurai on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 12:13:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  In order to reach the initial target of (0+ / 0-)

    seven million new enrollees, we need to double the existing rate of signups. This is going to happen, folks. Almost certainly this month, when we reach the first coverage deadline.

    This is like the rollout of a successful new video game machine like a Nintendo Wii or Sony Playstation (but not like the overpriced Playstation 3 or the badly-designed original Microsoft Xbox), where the lines start out going around the block, where people set up with sleeping bags in the parking lots for a month before supply starts to catch up with demand.

    Or like RmoneyCare in Massachusetts, where 123 people signed up in the first month, but now more than 98% of the population is covered. And Republicans continue to lie about it.

    Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

    by Mokurai on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 12:40:00 PM PST

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