Research

Another Swing And A Miss: February’s ObamaCare Enrollment Numbers Are Lackluster

National Journal Headline: “ObamaCare Missed February Enrollment Target.” (Sam Baker, “ObamaCare Missed February Enrollment Target,” National Journal, 3/11/14)

The Washington Post: “ObamaCare Enrollment Drops Off In February.” (Jason Millman, “ObamaCare Enrollment Drops Off In February,” The Washington Post’s WonkBlog, 3/11/14)

Washington Examiner: “ObamaCare Signups Slow Down In February, Youth Enrollment Below Target.” (Philip Klein, “ObamaCare Signups Slow Down In February, Youth Enrollment Well Below Target,” Washington Examiner, 3/11/14)

“Roughly 4.2 Million People Had Signed Up For Coverage Under ObamaCare At The End Of A Weaker-Than-Expected February, The Obama Administration Said Tuesday.” (Sam Baker, “ObamaCare Missed February Enrollment Target,” National Journal, 3/11/14)

  • “If That Trajectory Holds, Based On Last Month’s Figures, Total Enrollment Will End Up Closer To 5.3 Million.” (Sam Baker, “ObamaCare Missed February Enrollment Target,” National Journal, 3/11/14)

The Pace Of Enrollment In February “Was Slower Than Expected” With Only 943,000 People Enrolling In A Plan. “February’s progress was slower than expected. About 943,000 people signed up for coverage last month, compared with the nearly 1.3 million the Health and Human Services Department had anticipated for February.” (Sam Baker, “ObamaCare Missed February Enrollment Target,” National Journal, 3/11/14)

  • The Obama Administration Projected That 1.27 Million People Would Enroll In February. (Marilyn Tavenner and Don Moulds, Memo To Kathleen Sebelius, 9/5/13)
     
  • The Obama Administration Projected That 5.65 Million People Would Enroll By The End Of February 2014. (Marilyn Tavenner and Don Moulds, Memo To Kathleen Sebelius, 9/5/13)

Last January, Democrats Proudly Touted ObamaCare’s January Enrollment Numbers

After A Promising January Enrollment Report, Democrats Were Crowing That They May Hit The ObamaCare Enrollment Goal. “The Health and Human Services Department’s latest update reported that 3.3 million people had selected an insurance policy on the law’s new exchanges by the end of January. It was a positive report by almost any standard, and puts enrollment on track to hit 5 to 6 million by the time the window closes in March. Democrats have touted the totals as a sign that the law is working, despite Republican intransigence and early technology disasters.” (Sam Baker, “The ObamaCare Enrollment Crash Is Coming,” National Journal, 2/19/14)

But January’s Enrollment Momentum Failed To Appear In February. “Whatever momentum was building in January did not appear to carry forward into February, as the number of sign ups fell below the administration’s expectations.” (Jason Millman, “ObamaCare Enrollment Drops Off In February,” The Washington Post’s WonkBlog, 3/11/14)

The Obama Administration Likely Will Fail To Hit Its 7 Million Goal

The Obama Administration Will Likely Fail To Meet The 7 Million Enrolled Target By March 31.  “About 4.2 million people have signed up for health plans on ObamaCare exchanges through the end of February, making it unlikely that the Obama administration will hit the estimate of 6 million enrollees by a key deadline at the end of March.” (Jason Millman, “ObamaCare Enrollment Drops Off In February,” The Washington Post’s WonkBlog, 3/11/14)

FLASHBACK: In June 2013, Health And Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Said The 7 Million Goal Would Be What “Success Looks Like.” “In June, Sebelius described 7 million consumers in the first year as a ‘realistic target.’ One day before HealthCare.gov launched Oct. 1, NBC News asked Sebelius: ‘What does success look like?’ ‘Well, I think success looks like at least 7 million people having signed up by the end of March 2014’ she responded.” (Carrie Budoff Brown and Jason Millman, “7 Million ObamaCare Customers,” Politico, 12/11/13)

Young Adults Continue Not To Enroll At Numbers The Obama Administration Anticipated And Remain Below The “Ideal Proportion” Of Signups

Only 24 Percent Of ObamaCare Enrollees Were Young Adults. “Young adults made up 24 percent of all new sign-ups—unchanged from last month. Administration officials initially set a target of roughly 38 percent, but have since said that even holding steady at about 25 percent is good enough.” (Sam Baker, “ObamaCare Missed February Enrollment Target,” National Journal, 3/11/14)

  • The Obama Administration Set A 40 Percent Goal For Young Adult Enrollment. “But only 25 percent of those enrolled were between the ages of 18-34, well below the 40 percent benchmark the administration set for the age group. Younger, healthier enrollees are necessary to subsidize coverage for older enrollees.” (Zeke Miller, “ObamaCare Enrollment Still Lagging With Young People,” Time, 2/12/14)

As Young Enrollees Continue To Make Up A Small Percentage Of Enrollments, Health Care Premiums Are Expected To Increase. “Premiums will depend largely on who signs up for coverage under the law—how many healthy consumers are in the mix to balance out the costs of guaranteeing coverage to people with preexisting conditions. At the end of February, young adults made up 24 percent of enrollees. That’s enough to avoid the dreaded insurance ‘death spiral,’ but could still lead to smaller premium increases next year, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.” (Sam Stein, “ObamaCare Missed February Enrollment Target,” National Journal, 3/11/14)

Today’s ObamaCare Numbers Hide Important Updates On Actual Enrollment Numbers

The Numbers Only Reflect The Number Of People That Have Selected A Health Care Plan, Not People Who Have Actually Paid. “As always, there are a few important caveats to the latest enrollment report. These are not final enrollment numbers. They reflect the number of people who have selected an insurance plan—not the number who have actually paid their first premium, and enrollees aren’t covered until they make that payment. Insurers have estimated that about 70 to 80 percent of their customers paid their first premium, which would put actual enrollment closer to 3 or 3.5 million. (Sam Baker, “ObamaCare Missed February Enrollment Target,” National Journal, 3/11/14)

  • “The White House Hasn’t Released A Formal Tally Of How Many People Paid Their Premiums, But Should Be Able To Do So Once It Has More Complete Data From Insurers.” (Sam Baker, “ObamaCare Missed February Enrollment Target,” National Journal, 3/11/14)

The Figures Don’t Include Enrollees That Were Previously Uninsured. “These figures also don’t break out the number of uninsured people who have signed up for a plan, versus those who changed coverage rather than gaining it (perhaps because their old policy was canceled as a result of the Affordable Care Act). The best estimates so far say that about 70 percent of all enrollees were previously uninsured.” (Sam Baker, “ObamaCare Missed February Enrollment Target,” National Journal, 3/11/14)

Today’s Numbers Are Just Plan Selections. “The HHS numbers reported today are just plan selections, however, and not official enrollments. HHS says it still doesn’t know how many people have paid the first month’s premium, the final step in completing enrollment. Major insurers and news reports suggest about 20 percent of those signing up in exchange plans haven’t paid premiums.” (Jason Millman, “ObamaCare Enrollment Drops Off In February,” The Washington Post’s WonkBlog, 3/11/14)