Plenty of Browsers at Obamacare Exchanges, but Not Clear How Many Buyers

Millions of Americans visited the online health-insurance exchanges despite widespread tech glitches

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Leigh Vogel / Corbis

Beverly Purcell, health insurance consultant in Aspen, Colorado navigates through www.healthcare.gov, the Obamacare website that launched Oct. 1, 2013.

Millions of Americans visited websites for Obamacare health-insurance exchanges when they launched on Tuesday, leading many of the sites to crash from heavy volume. Despite the clear interest, federal officials would not say how many people actually signed up for new coverage.

During a conference call with reporters on Tuesday afternoon, officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) refused to disclose the number of people who bought insurance through the online marketplaces that are a centerpiece of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). “We have just decided not to release that yet,” said Marilyn Tavenner, head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The reticence of officials could be rooted in the serious computer glitches that bedeviled the exchange websites on their first day of operation. The federal website that manages enrollment for 34 states that have opted not to independently run their own exchanges counted visits from 2.8 million people on Tuesday, according to HHS, but greeted many visitors with an error message or long wait. Some state-run exchange websites opened late due to computer snafus or crashed during the day. On Twitter, state exchanges apologized to consumers and asked for patience while glitches were resolved. In the face of these problems, many visitors to the sites may have given up before being able to shop for insurance.

For all the attention on the launch, there is time to fix the errors. An open-enrollment period that began on Oct. 1 will last until March 31, and the earliest new coverage will begin is Jan. 1, 2014.

(MORE: Obamacare Exchanges Open for Business: What You Need to Know)

Although Tavenner would not release enrollment data, HHS said consumers have already signed up for insurance through both the federal exchange website and every state exchange in operation. As the launch day wore on and states ironed out some of the kinks in their sites, many touted their Web traffic and enrollment figures. Kentucky officials said nearly 60,000 people visited its exchange during the first 15 hours it was operational. The Covered California exchange reported receiving an average of 5,000 page views per minute on Tuesday. And Minnesota said exchange-consumer-assistance workers fielded more than 1,700 calls.

Amid a government shutdown caused by Republican opposition to ACA, the GOP tried to frame Tuesday’s exchange glitches as proof that the law is unworkable. Senate Republicans sent out a press release detailing press accounts of the computer failures under the headline “Obamacare Crashing Across America.”

President Obama pushed back in a televised speech from the Rose Garden, noting that the shutdown didn’t prevent the exchanges from launching on schedule, if not in midseason form.

“I know it’s strange that one party would make keeping people uninsured the centerpiece of their agenda, but that apparently is what it is,” Obama said. “And of course what’s stranger still is that shutting down our government doesn’t accomplish their stated goal.”

(MORE: Obama Warns of Health Care Law ‘Glitches’)

The President delivered his remarks surrounded by a group of Americans he said would get new insurance coverage under ACA. At least one member of the group, according to Politico, wasn’t able to sign up for coverage on Tuesday because his state exchange website was not working.

20 comments
gofindron@yahoo.com
gofindron@yahoo.com

California lied about Marketplace hits on Tuesday = 5 million? It was more like 1/2 million and it looks like the failures of the system will never be corrected -- they've had 3 years but it's just to big for a Obama government to handle. I've heard only less than 1% of visitors actually signed up. So Democrats must lie about the figures. Who's really in the hot seat -- not Republicans, but Obama and his clan. However, even without all the problems, even if  it  went smoothly and we all paid 25-50% more for it, it wouldn't cripple us! Other countries have socialized medicine. Actually, the $17 trillion dollar debt with no end in sight for an out-of -control spending frenzy is what will collapse the economy. Default or rapid rise in interest rates, leading to high inflation will in turn cause the dollar to  fall and world economy to follow it. But this Obamacare may be the trigger that sets it off. Don't believe me, read "Aftershock" by Weidemer.

Also, shaking hands and making deals with the three most dangerous people in the world is like shaking hands with the Devil. Netanyahu is right about Rhouani, he is deceiving the world with a peaceful face and blessings. The guy is a warrior at heart and behind nuclear Iran, terrorism and now wants to include in the deal -- and get this -- to allow Iranian airlines to fly into the US airports ... how nice! They won't have to wait 3 years to produce ICBM's, they can just transport them into the US on an airline. You think 911 was devastating? OBamacare? These are pinpricks compared to a nuke going off in just one city. Thanks Obama, you are truly fulfilling your father's dreams!

BorisIII
BorisIII

Tried to get on but had to wait.  No reason to worry because I have until 1/1/14.  When it starts. 

mary.waterton
mary.waterton

Can't beat the price. It's (((FREE))) to those meeting the appropriate income standards

Compliments of the American taxpayer. Add it to the national debt.

Barb
Barb

Needs to be voluntary for individuals instead of mandatory, like the Unions, big business, etc.

HazeAndDrizzle
HazeAndDrizzle

@Barb The individual mandate is a Republican idea first proposed by the Heritage Foundation, yes that Heritage Foundation. It was first tested and proved in practice by Republicans. Yes, that Republican. If you believe in market driven solutions then you know the necessity. Or you can play stupid which many Repub hypocrites are really good at. Or you can join sane people in supporting single payer.

swagger
swagger

@Barb sure, it should be voluntary like seat belts, traffic signals, motorcycle helmets and so on.  frankly no one cares that you have insurance but because your reckless behavior can cost the rest of us we ask for more participation in the system to lower costs for everyone.  just imagine the chaos one person could cause by running every red light in the name of freedom and self(ish) interest instead of accepting social responsibility and stopping that exchanges a tiny bit of freedom for everyone else's genuine self interest.

dominigan
dominigan

@HazeAndDrizzle @Barb Your "sane" people ignore history.  Perhaps you should look to other countries that implemented it, and are now trying to go back to free market principles.  Why are you afraid of competition, choice and lower prices?  Do you enjoy being dictated the one choice you are allowed?  Your "sane" people are fools who prefer "security" over liberty, but deserve neither.

Barb
Barb

@HazeAndDrizzle @Barb Please! It is not even the same law that was passed by the Liberals in 2009. I do not support Socialized  Medicine, which single payer is.

#libtardedamerica
#libtardedamerica

@swagger

spoken like a true idiot.  health insurance is a privilege, not a right. everything that you want isn't a right. pathetic liberal entitlement culture might make it seem like everything out there that you could possibly want is a right, but that's not the case

Barb
Barb

@swagger @Barb Your reasoning is flawed since waivers have already been granted to the biggest players in the game. Talk about self interest :)

JeffIngram
JeffIngram

@dominigan @HazeAndDrizzle @Barb Please tell me the countries trying to get rid of their NHS?  When I've checked the countries with NHS (Britain, Canada, France, Germany, etc.) are quite happy with their health system plus the countries spend a lot less than we do.

HazeAndDrizzle
HazeAndDrizzle

@#libtardedamerica @swagger  Life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. Which came first - life. When you or a loved one are dying from a chronic disease remember which ideology betrayed you.

KeillRandor
KeillRandor

@#libtardedamerica @swagger 

So healthcare - especially 'affordable' and (hopefully) effective healthcare - is a privilege?  Unfortunately for your country, the corporations in control will not let you have universal healthcare, so insurance is the best you can hope for, and the only way you currently have of being able to treat everyone effectively.  (How affordable it is, remains to be seen.)

With that in mind, I hope you suffer from being infected by someone uninsured - because that's obviously what it takes to convince you that healthcare is a COLLECTIVE matter, not an individual one, just like defence, education, infrastructure etc..

If you don't want healthcare, there's nothing stopping you - only I hope you don't infect anyone else with whatever it is you catch and probably die from. 

Voluntary healthcare acts against the very premise of nations- that of a collection of people helping to support each other and enable greater prosperity for the whole, though more effective defence, support, education and healthcare.

Anyone who suffers from not being able to access effective healthcare, (and therefore affordable), causes the country as a whole to suffer.  The only questions, (which the word itself is asking), is how best to enable and provide such healthcare - and this is one you obviously simply do not care about at all... 

dominigan
dominigan

@PaulDirks @Barb @swagger No, they have absolved some companies from the requirements of the law.  Here's the key question you're ignoring.  Do you believe everyone should be equal under the law, or do you believe there should be a special class that is above the law?

erbarker
erbarker

@Barb @swaggerNo it should be voluntary like what car you buy, what band of bread you eat. @swaggerYou have a serious problem with logic.


Barb
Barb

@PaulDirks @Barb @swagger I know, You make my point. It has absolved Corporations, Unions and given subsidies to Congress. Who is going to pay their share? I think we all know the answer to that.

PaulDirks
PaulDirks

@Barb @swagger No waivers have absolved people of the responsibility of being insured. Your reasoning is flawed.


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