WASHINGTON — After a surge of sign-ups on the last day for open enrollment, Obamacare is on track to hit the White House’s original target of 7 million people signing up, a senior administration official said Tuesday.
On Monday, more than 4.8 million visits were made to HealthCare.gov and 2 million calls were made to the call center, the official said.
The administration is awaiting final numbers from the federal and state exchanges, the official said.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office originally projected the 7 million target, which was embraced by administration officials.
Monday’s crush of enrollees came despite a software bug early in the day that proved to be a fleeting reminder of the technical woes that plagued the system when it was rolled out.
“System isn’t available at the moment,” a message on HealthCare.gov said. “We’re currently performing maintenance.” But by 6 a.m. MDT, the glitch had been resolved.
An official said Monday that the surge included a good percentage of young adults — a demographic whose inclusion among enrollees is considered key to controlling costs.
Consumers who attempted to sign up on Monday but who experienced technical problems in doing so will be given a few additional days to complete the process, the administration official said.
States running their own exchanges also cited a surge of interest. California’s exchange ran sluggishly on Monday, but consumers there were given a reprieve, too. Those who didn’t finish the process were given until April 15 to do so, Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, said Monday.
But picking a plan isn’t the final step to full enrollment — forking over the money is. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told an Oklahoma TV station on Monday that insurers were reporting that 80% to 90% had paid.
Obamacare’s primary goal is to reduce the ranks of the 45 million uninsured. It remains to be seen how that figure will be affected, though anecdotal evidence suggests many have enrolled. Until now, many Americans with pre-existing conditions had to pay sky-high prices for insurance, if they could get any at all. Often, insurers branded them “uninsurable.”
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