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Obamacare Enrollment for October: 106,185

Obamacare Enrollment for October: 106,185

By Adam O'Neal - November 13, 2013

The Obama administration announced Wednesday that more than 100,000 Americans successfully applied for and chose health insurance through an Obamacare marketplace last month, far short of its goal of half a million sign-ups.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a prepared statement that interest in the program remained strong.

“We expect enrollment will grow substantially throughout the next five months, mirroring the pattern that Massachusetts experienced,” she said, asserting also that the numbers will increase “as the website, HealthCare.gov, continues to make steady improvements.”

According to HHS, 106,185 people enrolled through an exchange website. The vast majority -- around 79,000 -- did so by using one of the 15 state health insurance exchanges, while the remainder signed up through the troubled HealthCare.gov.

Further lowering the numbers, only about 10 percent of those who completed eligibility requirement paperwork actually selected and enrolled in a plan (more than 975,000 consumers applied for insurance but have yet to make their selection).

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus suggested in a statement that the poor numbers were a result of more than just a flawed website.

“I maintain that the larger reason ObamaCare has failed is because it was conceived based on a lie that Americans could keep their healthcare plans and has failed to address our number one healthcare problem in America: soaring costs,” he said.

California’s insurance exchange was by far the most popular, beating out even the federal website with approximately 35,000 enrollees. The exchange in New York enrolled about 16,000 people, and Washington state successfully signed up around 7,000. Kentucky -- a traditionally red state with a Democratic governor who has embraced the health care law -- recorded about 5,000 enrollees.

Fewer than 27,000 people successfully navigated the federal exchange, which has been overwhelmed with a series of technical glitches since being launched at the start of October. Administration officials had warned that they would not meet their enrollment targets because of those problems.

The federal website wasn’t the only one to underperform. New Jersey, for instance, only enrolled 742 residents. Oregon determined eligibility for 190 applicants but did not confirm that any had selected a plan.

Some 400,000 people have been approved for Medicaid benefits through an expansion of that program as part of Obamacare. 

Adam O'Neal is a political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at aoneal@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealClearAdam.

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