KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

29,000 Americans Enroll Through In 2 Days, Says Source

That total exceeds the number who enrolled during the entire month of October, demonstrating that recent fixes have made the website easier to use.

The New York Times: Enrollment Numbers Rise After Website Improves
About 29,000 people successfully navigated and selected an insurance plan on Sunday and Monday, more than the entire number of people who were able to enroll through the federal exchange during the month of October, according to a person familiar with the project. Officials are still double-checking the data and said they would not release enrollment numbers for November until later this month. But the person said the website was working much better than in October, when only 26,000 people were able to enroll in a plan. Politico first reported the weekend enrollment numbers (Shear, 12/4).

Los Angeles Times: Sees Enrollment Jump After Repairs To Troubled Website
In the clearest sign yet that the federal health insurance website is vastly improved, about 29,000 people enrolled in insurance plans over the first two days of this week, exceeding the number of enrollments on the site in all of October, according to a source familiar with the data. The 29,000 figure tallies the number of people able to select health plans Sunday and Monday, the 48-hour window after the administration’s deadline for making major repairs to the website  (Hennessey, 12/4).

The Washington Post: 29,000 Americans Enroll Under In 2 Days, Officials Say
That total exceeds the total number of Americans who enrolled online between Oct. 1 and Nov. 2, which was 26,794. The government defines enrollment as an individual who has successfully signed up for a plan. The new total, while short of the pace needed to reach the administration's target of 7 million enrollments by March 31, shows the federal health insurance marketplace is working much more smoothly than it was at its Oct. 1 launch (Eilperin, 12/4).

Politico: Source: Enrollment Surge On
The preliminary numbers for the two-day period provide the clearest evidence yet that the federal exchange is on the mend. About 26,000 people selected a health plan during October and about 100,000 people did so in November, the official said (Budoff Brown, 12/4).

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire: Traffic Strong On–Will Enrollment Follow?
Strong traffic on and new figures from states suggest that enrollment is likely picking up on the federal health-insurance exchange, although federal officials aren’t giving any specific recent enrollment figures. Officials at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the agency running the federal health-insurance website, say they’re planning on releasing updated enrollment figures in mid-December. "We expect our enrollment numbers to increase given the technology improvements to the site," CMS spokeswoman Julie Bataille told reporters Wednesday in a daily update call (Schatz, 12/4).

Reuters: More Obamacare Enrollees In Two Days Than All Of October: Sources
More people signed up on the government's new health insurance website on the first two days of December than in the entire first month of the launch of President Barack Obama's healthcare reform, sources familiar with the numbers said on Wednesday. The sources said about 29,000 people enrolled on Sunday and Monday, surpassing nearly 27,000 for all of October when the opening of the website was beset by glitches that led to a public apology by the president and a retooling of the portal (Holland, 12/4).

NPR: Now Allows Window Shopping, And A Do-Over
One thing that's clear about the relaunch of the troubled website is that it can accommodate more people. Federal officials said more than 1 million users logged in on Monday, and nearly that many on Tuesday. But less attention has been paid to some other upgrades that are also making the site easier for people to use. That's too bad, says Nancy Metcalf, senior editor of Consumer Reports, who has been chronicling the rollout of the health exchanges. She says some of them are pretty impressive (Rovner, 12/5).

Some news outlets examine issues behind these numbers - 

Politico: Rush To Find Health Options Before Jan. 1
If people whose health insurance was canceled under Obamacare this year don’t line up new coverage this month, the Obama administration could face a political nightmare. More people could have lost coverage than gained it when the health law benefits begin on Jan. 1. That’s by no means a certainty; the sign-up website is doing better, some insurance carriers are extending plans instead of canceling them, and there are millions more uninsured people who stand to get covered than there are covered people facing plan cancellations. Medicaid sign-ups are also running strong (Norman, 12/4).

Modern Healthcare: CMS Works With Insurers On Inaccurate Enrollment Data
The CMS is working to calm the nerves of insurers still rattled by inaccuracies in enrollment information from, which the companies say could prevent consumers from getting coverage they're counting on having Jan. 1. The agency formed a team with QSSI, the contractor assigned to lead the federal website rescue effort, to work directly with insurance companies on the problems with so-called 834 files, which are necessary to transfer enrollment data from the federal insurance marketplace to the plan issuers (Blesch, 12/4).

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