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Almost 365,000 buy health insurance via online Marketplaces

Dec. 11, 2013 at 10:00 AM   |   Comments

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BETHESDA, Md., Dec. 11 (UPI) -- Nearly 365,000 U.S. adults have chosen healthcare plans through government websites but about 2 million others have yet to choose a plan, officials said.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday 364,682 individuals had selected plans from the state and federal marketplaces set up through the Affordable Care act by the end of November. November alone added more than a quarter million enrollees, she said.

An additional 803,077 were determined or assessed eligible for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program in October and November.

The federal website healthcare.gov, which has been subject to criticism because of its disastrous rollout, provides the online marketplace for health insurance for the 36 states that chose not to provide their own websites for residents whose employers do not provide health insurance.

"Evidence of the technical improvements to healthcare.gov can be seen in the enrollment numbers," Sebelius said in a statement.

"Now is the time to visit healthcare.gov, to ensure you and your family have signed up in a private plan of your choice by Dec. 23 for coverage starting Jan. 1. It's important to remember that this open enrollment period is six months long and continues to March 31."

Since Oct. 1, 39 million people have visited state and federal sites and there have been an estimated 5.2 million calls to the state and federal call centers, Sebelius said. The federal site was initially unable to handle the volume of those seeking coverage and was plagued by delayed response times and crashes.

Wednesday's report combined results from state and federal marketplaces. In some cases only partial data sets were available on the state level.

The report provides cumulative data for the two-month period since the website healthcare.gov came online in October because some people apply, shop and select a plan across monthly reporting periods.

These counts avoid potential duplication associated with monthly reporting. For example, if a person submitted an application in October, and then selected a Marketplace plan in November, this person would only be counted once in the cumulative data, Sebelius said.

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