KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Enrollment In Federal And State Health Marketplaces Rises To 365,000

The figures announced by federal officials show a sharp rise in the number of people signing up for insurance in November.

The Washington Post: Health Insurance Enrollment Up In November
About 365,000 Americans chose health plans during the first two months of the federal and state insurance marketplaces, bringing the total to more than triple the meager enrollment from October, according to new figures issued by the Obama administration. The report shows that the number of people who collectively signed up for coverage in the 14 states running their own insurance exchanges continued to outpace the total enrollment from the three dozen states relying on the federal marketplace (Goldstein and Sun, 12/11).

The Wall Street Journal: Private Health Plan Enrollment Rises With New Exchanges
Enrollment in private health plans sold on new insurance exchanges rose sharply in November, as more uninsured Americans picked plans before a December deadline and some of the HealthCare.gov website's glitches were fixed. Nearly 365,000 people nationwide have selected private health plans so far, the Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday. An additional 1.9 million have been notified about whether they'll qualify for federal subsidies to lower their monthly insurance cost—the first step toward enrolling in a new insurance plan (Schatz, 12/11). 

The New York Times: Sebelius To Testify As U.S. Cites Rise In Health Plan Signups
The number of people selecting health insurance plans in the federal and state marketplaces increased in November at a brisk pace, bringing the total to date to nearly 365,000, or more than triple the number who signed up in October, the Obama administration said on Wednesday. More than a quarter-million people picked health plans last month, and more than half of them were in state-run exchanges, the administration said (Pear, 12/11).

Politico: 7 Million Obamacare Customers?
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius once described 7 million new Obamacare customers in the first year as what "success looks like." The White House is now trying to affix another label to the estimate: meaningless. It might be too late. For months, the Obama administration embraced the projection by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office as a way to explain enrollment goals, boosting their political significance. But the broken HealthCare.gov website caused the program to lag far behind on signing up customers, and it's a steep climb to register 7 million people by the March deadline. About 365,000 selected a plan through the state and federal insurance exchanges in the first two months, according to figures released Wednesday, only a fraction of what the administration had estimated (Budoff Brown and Milman, 12/11).

USA Today: Federal Health Enrollments Quadrupled In November
The number of Americans who selected health insurance through the federal exchange, HealthCare.gov, quadrupled in November over the paltry statistics in October, according to new figures released Wednesday morning. The rise from 26,794 enrollees through Nov. 2 to 137,204 through November came before the government said the site had been repaired on Nov. 30 (Kennedy, 12/11).

Los Angeles Times: Enrollment In Obamacare Insurance Rises Sharply In November
Enrollment through insurance marketplaces created by President Obama’s health law rose sharply in November, as more than 250,000 people selected health plans in the month, according to a new government report. That was more than double the number who signed up in October, when problems with the new HealthCare.gov website made enrollment virtually impossible for long stretches of time (Levey, 12/11).

Reuters: Obamacare Health Enrollment Doubled In November: Report
The new tally brought the cumulative total for October and November to 365,000 people who have selected health plans in new online marketplaces set up in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Just over 800,000 have been determined eligible for government health coverage including the Medicaid program for the poor. The data reflects continued technical problems in November with the federal enrollment website, HealthCare.gov, which crashed on its October 1 launch and was subjected to weeks of emergency fixes. The site has appeared to work far more smoothly since the beginning of this month (Morgan, 12/11).

Kaiser Health News: More Than 110,000 Signed Up For Coverage Through Healthcare.gov In November
While the website serving people in 36 states is still not perfect – insurers are concerned about getting incomplete or inaccurate consumer information -- navigators and insurance brokers say that since major repairs were done over Thanksgiving weekend, the system is working most of the time. Enrollment figures released Tuesday night show that more than 110,000 people signed up for plans through the federal portal in November, more than four times the number in October, but still lower than what some advocates hoped. Among states relying on healthcare.gov, Florida has the highest number of people choosing a plan over the two month-period (17,908), followed by Texas (14,038) and Pennsylvania (11,788). The pace is expected to pick up this month as a result both of site improvements and the Dec. 23 deadline to enroll for coverage that begins Jan.1 (Galewitz, 12/11).

CNBC: 364,682 Enrolled In Obamacare Exchanges By Nov., Far Shy Of 7 Million Goal
A total of 364,682 people were enrolled in private Obamacare insurance plans nationwide by the end of November, federal officials said. Officials maintained that number combined with other new statistics shows there is a "tremendous demand" for affordable, comprehensive health coverage. Separately, another 803,077 people have been deemed eligible for the government-run Medicaid or Children's Health Insurance Plan programs through the Obamacare marketplaces. That was up from nearly 400,000 in the first month (Mangan, 12/11).

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