Enrollment Falls Far Short of Target

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Federal Website Brings 40,000 to 50,000 Enrollees in Private Plans.

Fewer than 50,000 people had successfully navigated the troubled federal health-care website and enrolled in private insurance plans as of last week, two people familiar with the matter said, citing internal government data.

The figure is a fraction of the Obama administration’s target of 500,000 enrollees for October. The early tally for the site, which launched Oct. 1, worries health insurers that are counting on higher enrollment to make their plans profitable.

Technology problems and design flaws have blocked many users from completing insurance applications or even creating accounts to use the site, which serves consumers in the 36 states where the federal government oversees the new health-insurance exchanges.

The administration had estimated that nearly 500,000 people would enroll in October, according to internal memos cited last week by Rep. Dave Camp (R., Mich.). An estimated seven million people nationwide were expected to gain private coverage by the end of March, when the open-enrollment period is set to end.

The administration thus far has said only that about 700,000 people had completed applications in all 50 states, using both the federal and state-run sites, in an Oct. 24 disclosure.

Separately, 12 of the 14 states that are running their own exchanges have tallied roughly 49,000 enrollees, excluding most Medicaid beneficiaries, according to a report released Monday by Avalere Health, a consulting firm.

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