KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Detailing The Numbers: Parsing The Latest HHS Tally Of New Enrollees

According to reports, 2.1 million people have signed up for new insurance coverage, and 3.9 million have been found eligible for Medicaid. Who are these people and what do the numbers mean? 

The Washington Post: Obamacare’s 2013 Tally: Six Million Signed Up For Coverage
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told reporters that 2.1 million have signed up for coverage through Dec. 28. That includes the 1.1 million that the White House had announced this past Sunday, who had enrolled through Dec. 24 on There are also 3.9 million people who have been found eligible for Medicaid (Kliff, 12/31/13).

The Wall Street Journal: Health-Plan Enrollment Surpasses 2.1 Million
Nationwide enrollment in private health plans under the Affordable Care Act has topped 2.1 million, the Obama administration said Tuesday as it prepared to tackle potential new problems when coverage takes effect New Year's Day. The enrollment figure as of Dec. 28, announced by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, encompasses the federal health-insurance exchange serving 36 states and those who enrolled through exchanges in the 14 states that are running their own marketplaces. ... Uninsured people have until March 31 to sign up for coverage or run the risk of being required to pay a 2014 penalty (Schatz, 12/31/13). 

Reuters: Over 2.1 Million Have Signed Up For Obamacare: Officials
More than 2.1 million people have enrolled in private health insurance plans through new federal and state websites since they were launched in October as part of President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul, U.S. officials said on Tuesday. While short of the 3.3 million enrollees that the Obama administration was hoping for by now, the number signing up for insurance is a dramatic improvement from the early weeks of the program, when barely 150,000 got coverage because of a series of technical problems with the federal website (Cornwell, 12/31/13).

Bloomberg: Obamacare Rallies From Botched Debut As 2 Million Enroll
About 2.1 million people will have medical coverage today through Obamacare after a late surge in enrollment helped regain ground lost to the botched debut of insurance exchanges created by the U.S. health-care overhaul.  More than 1.6 million Americans signed up through state and federal exchanges in December alone, according to calculations from data released yesterday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Wayne, 1/1).

ABC News: A Torturous Obamacare Odyssey Ends in Victory
For Ted and Maxine Baumgartner of Ft. Wayne, Ind., their first day as owners of a 2014 Obamacare insurance policy  can be summed up in one word: relief. The couple's months-long odyssey to buy coverage for Maxine through was a torturous experience that encapsulates everything that went wrong with the rollout. It also shows how persistence can ultimately pay off. Baumgartner, 62, is among an estimated 2 million Americans who've selected health plans through the Obamacare insurance exchanges since October and will start 2014 with protection from a potential medical and financial nightmare (Dwyer, 1/1).

NBC  News: Insured, Finally: Families Put Obamacare To The Real Test
For the 2.1 million people who've signed up for health insurance under the new federal and state exchanges, Jan. 1 is when the rubber meets the road. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius called it "an exciting new day in health care" as latest enrollment figures were released Tuesday. But for people like the Schulz family of Phoenix, Ariz., Rita Rizzo and Lou Vincent of Akron, Ohio, and Joyce Moore of Zionsville, Pa., it's the first test of whether Obamacare will really work. They all say they're relieved and excited to finally have new access to health care, and they hope that the rocky rollout of the exchanges under the Affordable Care Act will actually give way to the smooth delivery of vital medical services (Aleccia, 1/2).

Fox News: Sebelius: No More ObamaCare Delays
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, on the eve of the ObamaCare launch, told Fox News she doesn't anticipate any more delays for the health care law. The secretary voiced confidence in the law as her department announced what it claimed was a "surge" in enrollment. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said Tuesday that more than 2.1 million people have enrolled through the federal- and state-run marketplaces.  "I'm thrilled that we're going to have millions of people for the first time that have health security, and it should be a great New Year for lots of families across America," Sebelius told Fox News in an exclusive interview, as she left a downtown D.C. restaurant Tuesday afternoon (12/31). 

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