KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Dust Settles As First Enrollment Period Comes To A Close

Though March 31 is increasingly viewed as a somewhat soft deadline, it's come and gone amidst last-day technical troubles. In its wake, lots of analysis and speculation about where the ultimate tally -- now estimated to have topped 7 million -- may fall, as well as how many of those new enrollees were previously uninsured and how many will pay their premiums.  

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Deadline Brings High Interest For Health Insurance
The last-minute rush was expected to significantly boost the number of Americans gaining coverage under the new law, and government officials told The Associated Press late Monday that they were on track to sign up more than 7 million Americans for health insurance by the deadline. But the months ahead will show whether the Affordable Care Act will meet its mandate to provide affordable health care coverage or whether high deductibles, paperwork snags and narrow physician networks make it a bust (4/1).

The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: Obama Sees Health-Care Sign-Ups Nearing 7 Million
Last Thursday, the White House announced that more than six million people had signed up for private health coverage through state and federal insurance exchanges. That figure surpassed the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office’s revised estimate that six million people would enroll, down from its initial forecast of seven million. Monday is the final day of enrollment under the Affordable Care Act. If an insufficient number of people sign up, or not the right mix, the law won’t work effectively because insurers may end up with too few healthier members to offset the costs of less-healthy enrollees (Favole, 3/31).

Politico: Obamacare Enrollment Period Ends With Massive Surge
The first open enrollment season of Obamacare ended at midnight Monday, a day that saw millions of Americans click onto Obamacare sign-up portals, dial into call centers and stand in long lines at assistance sites nationwide. The huge surge made it increasingly likely that enrollment would hit 7 million, the finish line that seemed out of reach during much of the often rocky six-month period. Shortly after 10 p.m., the Associated Press cited two sources that said sign-ups were “on track” to hit 7 million. Administration officials wouldn’t confirm the number but said that signs were pointing in that direction (Kenen and Cheney, 4/1).

The Wall Street Journal: New Technical Woes Hobble Health-Insurance Sign-Ups At Zero Hour
New problems in the federal health-insurance website stymied some of the hundreds of thousands of Americans trying to sign up at the last minute, prompting health plans and officials to brace for the complex task of enrolling people after Monday's official deadline. The HealthCare.gov site for 36 states that have about 33 million uninsured people went down shortly after midnight Sunday and remained unusable until about 7:45 a.m. EDT Monday, a person familiar with the matter said. It was hit by a second problem around noon EDT that prevented new users from creating accounts, while some people who already had accounts were unable to log in, this person said (Ante and Radnofsky, 3/31).

The New York Times: Health Website Failures Impede Signup Surge As Deadline Nears
A frenzied last-minute scramble to sign up for health insurance overloaded phone lines and temporarily overwhelmed the website of the federal marketplace on Monday, as hundreds of thousands of people around the country raced to beat the deadline to obtain coverage under the Affordable Care Act (Pear, 3/31).

The Washington Post: Healthcare.gov Stumbles On Deadline Day As Consumers Race To Sign Up For Insurance
The first six-month window for Americans to gain health insurance under the Affordable Care Act closed on Monday with large numbers of consumers speeding to get coverage at the last minute. Some of them encountered obstacles as HealthCare.gov, the main enrollment Web site, faltered on and off throughout the day (Goldstein and Sun, 3/31).

NPR: Cause For Hope And Frustration In the Shadow Of ACA Deadline
As the Affordable Care Act's midnight deadline draws near, there has been a surge in last-minute signups. The heavy traffic has caused both glitches in the website and optimism from some forecasters (Horsley, 3/31).

The New York Times: Last-Day Rush Causes Another Malfunction Of HealthCare.gov
For a second time on Monday, the federal website where consumers can sign up for medical coverage under President Obama’s health care law unexpectedly stopped taking applications. It is the last day of open enrollment for the year (Joachim, 3/31).

Reuters: Obamacare Website Stalls A Bit Before Enrollment Deadline
The federal website for U.S. consumers to enroll in private health insurance under Obamacare ran into problems twice on Monday because of a surge of people trying to access the site hours before a midnight deadline to sign up for coverage. Technical issues that barred access to HealthCare.gov for several hours throughout the day underscored the frantic last-minute pace of an enrollment process that could determine the ultimate success or failure of the healthcare law that represents President Barack Obama's domestic policy achievement (Morgan, 4/1).

McClatchy: White House Dismisses Senator’s Allegation That Administration ‘Cooked The Books’ On Obamacare
The White House on Monday dismissed a Republican senator’s accusation that the Obama administration was “cooking the books” by inflating the number of Americans who’ve enrolled for health care under the Affordable Care Act. Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said on Fox News Sunday that he didn’t believe the enrollment numbers released by the administration. "I think they're cooking the books on this," said Barrasso, an orthopedic surgeon. At a briefing with reporters on Monday, White House spokesman Jay Carney dismissed Barasso’s allegation, along with the comments of other critics of the law (Wise, 3/31).

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.