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Affordable Care Act with single digit enrollment?

Enrollment for the Affordable Care Act started this week, and although the Obama administration has claimed demand had been high based on the high web traffic numbers, experts argue that most people who have visited the website have been “stymied by technology failures.”

So what do we know about enrollment for the Affordable Care Act? Not much. In fact, the administration won’t say how many people or what states have seen successful enrollments.  In fact, there is some evidence to suggest there may not be anyone or very few individuals who have made it completely through the process of the federal exchanges and enrolled.

In fact, there have been reports from several companies who have offered plans on the federal website that no one had signed up. This report is similar to what others have said including health insurers and industry consultants, including a report by Blue Cross Blue Shield, who said through a company spokesman, claimed they had not had anyone sign up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act as of Wednesday afternoon. One insurance spokesman anonymously added, “Very, very few people that we’re aware of have enrolled in the federal exchange. We are talking single digits.”

What does the Obama Administration say?

What does the administration say about the Affordable Care Act? Not much, and more importantly it sounds like they are also eager to keep other people from realizing that implementation has not gone as smoothly as they had hoped. This is evidenced by suggestions that anyone willing to talk has agreed to talk "on the condition of anonymity out of concern for possibly offending the Obama administration."

What’s at issue? As mentioned above, it may be less about interest and more about the fact that the federal exchanges simply are not accessible and people get frustrated before they are able to complete the enrollment process.

But why won’t the Obama administration admit they are having difficulties with Affordable Care Act?

Reports indicate, not only was the site slow, it continuously flashed error messages. The administration argued this was to be expected given the high numbers who visited the site: 4.7 million unique visitors in the first 24 hours — while some in the health-care industry suggested that the problem was more serious. The administration, however, suggests that even if visitors were not able to enroll they were provided with “valuable information about their insurance options and whether they qualified for financial help.”

Others in the administration argue that low enrollment numbers may be a good thing. People are taking their time, “shopping carefully, and exploring the price and coverage under the various health plans newly available to them.” They argued that taking their time may allow them to be better consumers.

What do opponents say about Affordable Care Act?

Opponents of the Affordable Care Act note that if the issues are not resolved this is further proof the individual mandate should have been postponed for a year. It could also continue to undermine consumer confidence in a law that already has sparked fevered political opposition and widespread confusion.

Meanwhile the administration is simply talking about the numbers viewing the site, arguing there is a high level of interest, rather than releasing information about the enrollment figures for the federal exchanges.
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