Obamacare October Enrollment Numbers Fall Far Short Of Goal

As expected, the enrollment numbers for Obamacare are far below where they were expected to be.

congress-healthcare

The Obama Administration has released enrollment figures for the state and Federal exchanges set up under the Affordable Care Act and, as expected, they fell far short of the goals that had been set, setting forth the possibility of huge problems to come if enrollment rates do not dramatically increase in the coming months:

WASHINGTON — New data shows that just over 106,000 people picked health plans in the first month of open enrollment through the state and federal insurance marketplaces established by the Affordable Care Act, a figure far lower than the Obama administration initially estimated would sign up during that period.

The bulk of the new enrollees — roughly three-fourths — signed up through the 14 state-run exchanges, according to data released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. It said 76,391 enrolled through state marketplaces, some of which have technical problems of their own, while 26,794 signed up through the federal exchange.

Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, disclosed the much-anticipated numbers during a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, after House Republicans spent the morning grilling the White House chief technology officer, Todd Park, and other administration officials about how HealthCare.gov went so awry, and what is being done to fix it.

The White House has spent weeks trying to lower expectations about the enrollment figures, which have set off a pitched political battle among supporters and critics of the health overhaul, each seeking political advantage in the numbers.

One point of contention is around the way the Obama administration defines who, precisely, is enrolled.

The administration counts new enrollees as those who have “selected a marketplace plan.” They are people like Hung Trang, a 60-year-old nail salon owner in Tampa, Fla., who has been trying for weeks to sign up for coverage. With some help from a counselor, called a “navigator,” he has picked a plan, but has not yet committed to buy it.

The health insurance industry, though, says people like Mr. Trang do not count until they have agreed to pay.

“Paying the first month’s premium is what needs to happen before coverage actually begins,” said Robert Zirkelbach, a spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry trade association. “Until a consumer makes their first-month premium, they can make a different coverage decision — including whether they want to buy coverage or not.”

The administration reported that there were 846,184 competed applications in the state and federal marketplaces for plans that would cover a total of 1,509,883 Americans. It said 1,081,592 people had been “determined eligible to enroll in a marketplace plan.”

In explaining the relatively low enrollment figures, administration officials cite problems with the federal website, which have clearly prevented people from signing up. But they also cite the experience of enrolling people under the Massachusetts health law, which suggests that many people enroll at the last minute.

When that state expanded health coverage, only 123 of the 36,167 people who ultimately signed up did so during the first month of enrollment. But more than 7,000 signed up during the final month. (Massachusetts, though, unlike the Obama administration, counted only people who had already paid their premiums as enrollees, according to Jon Kingsdale, who ran that state’s health insurance exchange.)

There is still one month to go until the Dec. 15 deadline for signing up for coverage that begins Jan. 1; the initial enrollment period does not close until March 31. So administration officials, and some outside experts, say these early numbers do not reveal much.

“These numbers are interesting,” said David Simas, the White House point man on the health law, “but in terms of any kind of insight into the success of the program, they’re not the central indicator.”

The biggest takeaway from these numbers, of course, is the fact that the Federal Exchange, which covers the majority of the country, accounts for less than 27,000 of the 106,000 people that the Administration is counting as enrolled. That’s less than a quarter of the total number, and far less than what was projected for the first month of operation. Additionally, of the remaining 80,000 or so, the vast majority appear to have come from California, which has its own exchange. Given that California has the highest population of any state in the nation, it isn’t surprising that they’d turn in a high number of enrollees, but that state alone accounts for nearly half of the remaining number of people who meet the Administration’s definition of “enrolled.” That’s not necessarily a good sign for the system going forward.

With all of the technical problems that the Federal Obamacare Exchange website has had, problems that have in some cases been duplicated at the state level although apparently at a far less severe rate, it’s not surprising that the numbers are as low as they are. Indeed, the Administration has spent the better part of a month laying the groundwork for today’s report. However, that doesn’t make the number any more problematic because it means that there will need to be a very sharp up-tick in enrollment over the coming weeks and months. By enrollment, of course, I mean actual enrollment in a policy and payment of a premium, not the somewhat open-ended definition that HHS is using here, which seems to count as “enrolled” anyone who has selected a policy but not paid for it, which is like counting a book on Amazon as “purchased” if someone put it in their shopping cart but didn’t bother to go forward with paying for it. Perhaps these people will ultimately go back to the website and pay for the policy that selected, or select a different one, but we don’t know that for sure, and it strikes me as somewhat disingenuous to count people who haven’t actually enrolled in anything as being “enrolled.”

As I’ve said in previous posts this week about this issue, it’s certainly possible that we’ll see all of this turn around rather quickly. If the website is fixed by November 30th as promised, perhaps that will draw people back onto the web and back into buying policies before the December 15th deadline for buying policies that will go into effect on January 1st. If not, perhaps there will be a huge surge between now and March 31st when the current period of open enrollment ends. If that happens, then we may look back on all of these problems as a bump in the road. At the same time, though, it’s also possible that the disastrous roll out of the Affordable Care Act will continue down the road it has been heading for six weeks now. If that’s the case, then the White House, and the nation, are going to have some  huge headaches to deal with next year and in the years that follow.

FILED UNDER: Health Care, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    I liked The Jawa Report’s take on the numbers.

  2. C. Clavin says:

    As expected, the enrollment numbers for Obamacare are far below where they were expected to be.

    You wordsmith, you.

  3. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    A lot of us predicted this would be a disaster. But very few predicted it would fall apart so soon…

    Look, it’s obvious that ObamaCare has major congenital defects. Why don’t we just pop down to Political Planned Parenthood, have a safe and legal abortion, then try again in a couple of years when technology has matured a bit?

  4. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: I think the word you’re looking for is “unexpectedly.”

    And Cliffy, you’ve made your contempt for Doug crystal-clear. I at least have some respect for the guy, but you apparently have none. Why do you stick around?

  5. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Dammit, forgot the link: the word Doug’s missing is “unexpectedly.”

  6. grumpy realist says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Fine! Provided YOU get to contact all the people with pre-existing conditions (had cancer? sorry, no health insurance for you!) and tell them that sorry, they’re losing all their health insurance. Too bad, so sad for them, but you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs, y’know…

    May you have your health insurance rescinded upon just as you start your first round of chemotherapy.

  7. steve s says:

    Hundreds of thousands of lives will be saved because the voters were smart enough to reject Jenos and the Party of Stupid.

  8. Jc says:

    Doesn’t this mean anything to anyone? Even with the failure of the website, that is a fair amount of completed applications. Will be interesting to see what end of Nov looks like. Sure not complete, but who pays for something before they have to?

    The following are highlights of Marketplace enrollment-related information for the first month.
    Marketplace Monthly Enrollment-Related Information, 10-1-13 to 11-2-13 (1)
    Number

    Number of completed applications through the Marketplaces
    846,184

    Total number of individuals included in completed Marketplace applications
    1,509,883

    Number of individuals determined eligible to enroll in a Marketplace plan
    1,081,592

    Number of individuals who have selected a Marketplace plan
    106,185
    (1) Oct 1- Nov 2 most closely represents the first month of operations since state based Marketplaces generally compile enrollment-related metrics on a weekly basis. Any differences in reporting periods among states are noted in footnotes accompanying the Table in Appendix A.

    The first month enrollment experience in the Marketplace exceeds comparable first month enrollment in the Commonwealth Care program in the Massachusetts Health Connector. In Massachusetts, the number of premium-paying enrollees who signed up during the first month of enrollment was 123 or 0.3 percent of the total enrollment of 36,167 at the end of the year

  9. David M says:

    Is the biggest mistake made when passing Obamacare simply not assuming the worst about Republicans? Most of the current problems could have been avoided if the assumption was made that they would continue to be amoral, sociopathic aholes. (Medicaid expansion, state exchanges, state insurance pricing regulations, program outreach, etc.)

    Basically giving the GOP any input or choice in the implementation has proven to be a mistake. They haven’t used their influence to do anything constructive.

  10. steve s says:

    Is the biggest mistake made when passing Obamacare simply not assuming the worst about Republicans?

    If you assume that the Republican behavior will be maximally stupid and assholish, you’ll be prepared 99% of the time.

  11. Dave Schuler says:

    It’s still a bit early for crepe hanging. Healthcare.gov could be straightened out and enrollments could pick up.

    Realistically, however, the longer the period of low enrollments stretches out, the greater the peak load problem will be in reaching the 7 million enrollments the CBO projected by the end of the open enrollment period.

  12. edmondo says:

    “Anxious congressional Democrats are threatening to abandon President Obama on a central element of his signature health care law, voicing increasing support for proposals that would allow Americans to retain the health insurance coverage they are losing because of the Affordable Care Act,” the New York Times reports.

    Looks like the Democrats are finally smelling the turd in the room as we get closer to 2014.

  13. edmondo says:

    @David M:

    Basically giving the GOP any input or choice in the implementation has proven to be a mistake. They haven’t used their influence to do anything constructive.

    They didn’t have to do anything since Obama was passing their bill for them instead of one a real Democrat would have proposed.

  14. Tony W says:

    @edmondo:

    Democrats are finally smelling the turd in the room

    Don’t be so hard on the House majority….

  15. rudderpedals says:

    Did someone order more FUD?

  16. David M says:

    @edmondo:

    They didn’t have to do anything since Obama was passing their bill for them instead of one a real Democrat would have proposed.

    Still waiting to hear what your preferred alternative to Obamacare was.

  17. wr says:

    @grumpy realist: “May you have your health insurance rescinded upon just as you start your first round of chemotherapy. ”

    Jenos doesn’t have to worry about that. He’s well experienced in accepting expensive hospital care and then refusing to pay when they discover he doesn’t have insurance.

  18. David M says:

    @wr:

    Apparently you don’t understand freedom and responsibility like Jenos does.

  19. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    Actually douche-f*ck… I thought it was kinda clever.
    I understand that it was above your head. Don’t worry. Apparently everything is.
    But Benghazi, dude.

  20. An Interested Party says:

    I at least have some respect for the guy…

    Do you really? That would hard to know considering your endless whining about how he covered the Virginia governor’s race and the Martin/Zimmerman case…

    They didn’t have to do anything since Obama was passing their bill for them instead of one a real Democrat would have proposed.

    And that bill that a “real Democrat” would have proposed…how exactly would that have gotten passed? Magic dust, perhaps…

    Jenos doesn’t have to worry about that. He’s well experienced in accepting expensive hospital care and then refusing to pay when they discover he doesn’t have insurance.

    It is rather amusing that he, of all people, would have the nerve to criticize the ACA considering how he mooched off the health care system and never intends to pay his debt…

  21. bill says:

    this would actually be kinda funny if there weren’t so many real people getting hurt by this. how defensive all these liberoids get at the mere mention of it is really funny though.

    oops, gotta go- have to enroll my kids and my health insurance AGAIN since it got sacked by our dear leaders lame plan.

  22. David M says:

    @bill:

    Who’s hurting real people here? The GOP that are refusing to expand Medicaid? The GOP that refused to set up state exchanges? The GOP that want to repeal Obamacare entirely? Those can’t be ignored when compared to the much smaller number of people that may be paying slightly more for health insurance now.

  23. JKB says:

    If, and a big if it is, they get this debacle debauched, then the real ugly will be revealed. Show of hands, how many here expect people to know they are going to have high expenses when they go to use their plan? And that is after the higher premiums. Or the extreme limitation on doctors? How about the complete loss of coverage for going out of network?

    Uncle Sam will spend $2.6 trillion on ObamaCare over the next 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. What’s remarkable is how few people this will leave better off.

    So some plans will only include doctors in your local neighborhood. ObamaCare dubs these “Exclusive Provider Organizations”; one of the more affordable such plans I found in Florida has seven pediatricians (not practices, seven actual doctors) for a county with roughly 250,000 children.
    Want to see a doctor in another city? It won’t be covered.

    One analysis found that the average deductible for someone who enrolls in a “Silver” plan is more than twice the deductible for employer-sponsored coverage. Deductibles for the lowest-cost “Bronze” plans (which cover only 60 percent of projected medical costs) average $5,150 for an individual and can be as high as $6,350 or $12,700 for a family of four.
    So exchange insurance isn’t so great if you actually get sick.

  24. David M says:

    @JKB:

    So what’s your point? That the individual health insurance market sucks? That’s not exactly news, although most sentient people are capable of seeing that it’s much improved after the Obamacare reforms.

    Anyway, I thought the Republican complaint about Obamacare was that it covered too much and was more than people needed.

  25. crysalis says:

    Translated lib-speak for the ObamaCare disaster and how the American people are blanching now that the (intentional) effects are manifesting themselves; ” It’s too bad that this liberal wet-dream lab experiment is not meeting expectations. Let us try and minimize the knowledge of this by continuing to lie to all the middle class people who are coming to realize that we Democrats look at them – and the loss of their health care options – as noting more than collateral damage. Once they realize that their sacrifice is nothing less than their duty to the liberal cause, I’m quite sure they’ll feel more sanguin about paying more money and having this forced upon them in the name of the greater good.”

    Buckle up, all you liberals. This ride is just beginning. The real rebellion will come in about 3 months when the millions of folks who have insurance through their employers realize that their plans are going away too. What was the figure that democrats decided to keep to themselves in 2010 when discussing how many folks would lose coverage under O-Care? Very close to 100 Million, I think.

    Almost 100 Million folks who were lied to and told that this wouldn’t happen. That’s a whole bunch of voters.

    Love a liar, become a party to the lie. It’s that simple.

  26. David M says:

    @crysalis:

    I don’t think lose coverage means what you think it means or that you have any understanding of the individual health care market and the Obamacare reforms.

    These are some of the dumbest complaints I’ve ever read, as plans changed or were cancelled all the time before Obamacare. People actually have more options now than they had then. Does no one remember anything before Jan 2009?

  27. An Interested Party says:

    What was the figure that democrats decided to keep to themselves in 2010 when discussing how many folks would lose coverage under O-Care? Very close to 100 Million, I think.

    Oy, where is this delusional $hit coming from? WND? Red State, perhaps…

  28. David M says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Any change in insurance is now simply someone losing coverage. The actual details no longer matter, the policies can be more comprehensive and cheaper after subsidies and it’s still an outrage.

  29. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    And it must be remembered that these “enrollments” require a Clintonian definition of “enrolled.” To be counted as “enrolled,” you don’t actually have to sign up for coverage, make a single payment, or get any coverage whatsoever.

    Let’s apply this definition to another web site — say, New Egg. I want a new graphics card. I pick out three and check off all three so I can compare their features. Under ObamaCare rules, I just bought three graphics cards. New Egg can count those comparisons as sales.

    And please, go on and keep blaming Republicans for ObamaCare’s mess. It was passed entirely by Democrats, and the only changes made to it so far have been the ones Obama has simply proclaimed by royal fiat. “You guys didn’t give us any support!” is not an accusation, it’s a whining confession that the original Democratic bill was flawed.

    Which a lot of us have been saying for years. I can understand why you’re all so pissed. You’ve been calling us liars and worse for years, saying that we were wrong about the flaws in the plan. Now you are seeing that we were right and you were wrong, and it’s killing you.

    Suck it.

    I have one apology to make. Yes, I knew it was going to fall apart. I just didn’t realize that the Obama administration would be this incompetent and couldn’t hold it together even this long. I actually overestimated their competence, and I didn’t think that possible.

  30. bill says:

    @David M: obamacare is, my company HAD to dump a really nice/affordable (no pun intended) plan that all of our employees could afford- due to that little “asterisk” at the end of the dreaded “you can keep your plan,period” promise. they won’t get subsidies and the cost is 30+% more now. republicans had 0.0 to do with obamacare, it’s all democrats that pulled this massive trick on the country- and it looks like they’re going to pay for it (not financially, as usual) come election time- pending they can’t buy off everyone they screwed already. i guess “million’s” of people losing their insurance is just a trickle in the grand scheme- but at the end of the day it’s a lot of people that were screwed over by this. your weak attempt at damage control isn’t working, and neither is theirs.

  31. David M says:

    @bill:

    That’s most likely BS. Exactly how did Obamacare force your company to drop insurance?

  32. James Pearce says:

    @bill:

    this would actually be kinda funny if there weren’t so many real people getting hurt by this. how defensive all these liberoids get at the mere mention of it is really funny though.

    Liberoids? Grow up, (b)ill.

  33. aFloridian says:

    Yes, C. Clavin already pointed it out, but the “expected” thing really gave me my last laugh before bed tonight. If you expect the expectation to be wrong, are you really expecting those expectations at all? Aren’t you expecting that they will NOT transpire?

    Anyway….

  34. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    You were and are liars, terrified that a Democratic plan might work and end up helping people get health insurance. You and the rest of the GOP offer nothing on this issue but lies and deceit.

  35. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    You’ve been calling us liars and worse for years, saying that we were wrong about the flaws in the plan. Now you are seeing that we were right and you were wrong, and it’s killing you.

    Suck it.

    Lame.

    There’s a lot of self-satisfied smugness coming from the reliable wingnuts like Jenos and bill. These guys have no philosophy more sophisticated than “Liberals suck,” have demonstrated no understanding of how things actually work, and they have nothing to add besides a “hardy har har.”

    You know what that means? Obamacare is going to be just fine……

  36. qtip says:

    The DC site not only requires an account to see plan prices, they recently added a captcha to the account creation process. It’s pretty amazing they are putting more barriers in place rather than making it easier to shop for plans.

  37. James Pearce says:

    @qtip:

    added a captcha to the account creation process.

    Some barrier…..

    Makes me wonder if some of the problems associated with healthcare.gov can be attributed to DAU syndrome.

  38. anjin-san says:

    added a captcha to the account creation process.

    Can the rack and the iron maiden be far behind?

  39. anjin-san says:

    It’s pretty amazing to watch conservatives basically praying that their fellow citizens not get health care. How do people get that f**cked up in the head?

  40. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: It’s pretty amazing to watch conservatives basically praying that their fellow citizens not get health care.

    No need to pray — ObamaCare’s doing exactly that.

    It’s looking more and more that ObamaCare’s purpose is health insurance redistribution. Some people who didn’t have it now can get it, and to pay for it people who had insurance have had it taken away. If they want it back — and they legally have to — now have to pay more for plans with much higher deductibles and co-pays.

  41. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: If only we had listened to you, we could have avoided this whole mess.

  42. bill says:

    @David M: unless you live in a cave there’s this widely known thing about obamacare and how it forces some plans off the market- google it, nobody is that naive……are they? and yes, my company had one of those plans, and now it’s been forced off the grid by a certain guy who swore that we could “keep our plan, period”.

    @James Pearce: i don’t wanna grow up! i like that one, it’s kinda catchy/smarmey and i don’t have to resort to verbal assaults like some people in here!

  43. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @James Pearce: You got the law you wanted passed, exactly as you wanted it. So you don’t get to whine when exactly what you wished for turns out to suck.

  44. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    You got the law you wanted passed, exactly as you wanted it.

    We got single-payer Medicare for all passed?!?! Why didn’t anyone tell me? This is wonderful news!!!!!

  45. Blue Galangal says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    You got the law you wanted passed, exactly as you wanted it.

    I’m not sure how people keep forgetting that this was a bipartisan bill:

    “According to a HELP Committee document about bipartisan aspects of the health reform bill the committee passed July 15, 2009, its final bill included “161 Republican amendments,” including “several amendments from Senators [Mike] Enzi [R-WY], [Tom] Coburn [R-OK], [Pat] Roberts [R-KS] and others [that] make certain that nothing in the legislation will allow for rationing of care,” and reflected the efforts of “six bipartisan working groups” that “met a combined 72 times” in 2009 as well as “30 bipartisan hearings on health care reform” since 2007, half of which were held in 2009 [HELP Committee document, 7/09]. And according to the Senate Finance Committee’s September 22, 2009, document detailing the amendments to the Chairman’s Mark considered, at least 13 amendments sponsored by one or more Republican senators were included in the bill.”

    and

    “Some of the most important provisions in the bill were actually GOP ideas:

    -A high-risk pool for uninsured people with preexisting conditions
    -Allowing insurance companies to sell coverage across state lines
    -Pools where the self-employed and small businesses could buy insurance”

  46. C. Clavin says:

    So let’s review shall we?
    1). The previous health care system was unsustainable…with costs close to the highest among developed nations, and results close to the worse. In addition health care inflation was far outstripping normal inflation…and millions are unable to be insured because of pre-existing conditions or lifetime caps or were simply unable to afford insurance.
    2). Presidents from both parties had been trying for decades…50 years or more…to reform the system.
    3). A Democratic President President passed a Republican Reform Plan that has been instituted and is working well in MA.
    4). As of today over 1M people have been brought under Obamacare.
    5). The website sucks.
    6). 3-5% of the population have had to change policies…(yet are not shut out of insurance)…but that clearly does not jive with Obama’s bumper sticker sound-bite.
    7). The same people who believe Evolution is a hoax, 97% of the worlds scientists are lying about Climate Change, Tax Cuts pay for themselves, single celled organisms constitute human life, and the answer to Gun Violence is more guns…think that after 1 month we should pack it in.
    8). These same people have no other idea but to go back to #1.
    Have a nice day.

  47. James Pearce says:

    @bill:

    yes, my company had one of those plans, and now it’s been forced off the grid by a certain guy who swore that we could “keep our plan, period”.

    If you insurer stopped offering a certain plan, maybe you should blame them. Or you can continue to project your anger on the president….I mean, I don’t care.

    Also “Liberoid” might be “cute” but it’s not serious, so it’s going to be difficult to take you seriously if you use it.

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    You got the law you wanted passed, exactly as you wanted it.

    I don’t think I asked for a broken website, but that’s alright.

    Healthcare.gov is only one small piece of “Obamacare.” The rest may turn out to be as big a disaster as the website…..but you don’t know that yet, Nostradamus.

  48. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    redistribution

    Wow. You get a gold star from Sean Hannity for using one of the magic words 🙂 What a lucky boy you are.

  49. qtip says:

    @anjin-san:
    @James Pearce:

    Ha ha, you two are hilarious.

    If the goal is to get people to shop for plans and sign up, I think the devs working on the state and federal websites should be trying to make them easier to use, not harder.

  50. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: Yeah, let’s review your points.

    1) True, but so shallow as to be pretty much meaningless.
    2) See above.
    3) Complete bullshit. You call it a “Republican Reform Plan” because it vaguely resembles an idea put forth by one group a long time ago, and ignore actual facts like A) it was written and passed entirely by Democrats, and B) the Massachusetts plan was passed by Democrats who held over 80% of each House.
    4) True. 315 million is “over 1M,” so yeah, we’ve all been brought under ObamaCare — as so many like to say, “it’s the law of the land.” Of course, that’s a loose definition of “under,” as plenty of Democratic donors and base groups have won waivers.
    5) No shit.
    6) For one, it’s “jibe,” not “jive” — “jive” is what you’re spinning. For another, it wasn’t a “bumper sticker sound-bite,” it was a promise made repeatedly, when Obama knew it was a lie. For a third, that small percentage (which I don’t trust) represents millions of people who are being told that they can’t keep the plan they had, but have to pay more for a plan with higher co-pays and higher deductibles — in brief, pay more for less. Because that’s “fair.”
    7) You gotta have a cut and paste function for your standard irrelevant talking points. And it’s not one month, it’s “this is the best they could do with most of a billion dollars and three years?”
    8) You keep digging into that pile of horse crap, Cliffy — there’s gotta be a pony in there somewhere!

  51. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    Thank you for proving my point.

  52. James Pearce says:

    @qtip:

    should be trying to make them easier to use, not harder.

    I take your point, but entering words into a captcha is not what I would consider “hard.”

  53. qtip says:

    @James Pearce:

    It’s just odd to me that the site is getting so much criticism and they are actively making it harder – even if only marginally harder. Why not go the other direction and let us browse plans without creating an account? How successful are other shopping sites you know of that won’t show you products and prices without an account/login?

  54. David M says:

    @qtip:

    The DC site and the federal site are completely separate. The issue of browsing plans and a signup captcha aren’t really related either, as they still can add the browsing option in the future.

  55. bill says:

    @James Pearce: dude, they can’t offer the plan because the aca forced them to dump it- do you even read the paper or watch any news (let alone read what happens in here?) and really, who’s taken “serious” in here anyway? clavin?

  56. David M says:

    @bill:

    Seems more likely that they chose to reduce their benefits and blame the ACA.

  57. bill says:

    @David M:

    get a clue already, you’re beyond wrong. here’s the latest scramble to try to quiet the masses.

    the White House is saying that it will use “enforcement discretion” to allow illegal health insurance plans to be able to still be sold. That is, the Obama administration will not enforce the penalty on individuals for not having eligible health insurance plans and they’ll allow the insurance companies to still sell so-called bad plans — plans they technically can’t sell under Obamacare

    note that they even mentioned “illegal” insurance plans? is it all coming back now? …….this is reality-try wriggling out of that, it’s actually kinda fun now! your move…….

  58. David M says:

    @bill:

    Obamacare has made minimal changes to employer provided insurance, all the current disruption is individually purchased policies only. If your employer decided to essentially cut your pay by reducing the health insurance benefits, it’s not because of Obamacare.

  59. James Pearce says:

    @qtip:

    Why not go the other direction and let us browse plans without creating an account?

    That’s a great question and I don’t have an answer.

    I suspect it may be more about gathering relevant information from users to assist in the browsing rather than a deliberate attempt to “make things harder to use.”

    How successful are other shopping sites you know of that won’t show you products and prices without an account/login?

    Comparing healthcare.gov to “other shopping sites” doesn’t strike me as an appropriate comparison, but even if it was…

    Websites that are essentially non-functional “without an account/login” are not uncommon.

  60. James Pearce says:

    @bill:

    dude, they can’t offer the plan because the aca forced them to dump it- do you even read the paper or watch any news

    bill, you make me laugh, man……

    If I read in the paper that insurers were being “forced” to dump plans due to ACA, I would know that paper is full of BS.

    The insurers canceling these plans have done so because they made a business decision based on their own self-interest: that is, complying with the law, but also maximizing profits.

    Now one could bemoan the ACA for setting up the conditions that have allowed insurers to do this, but that’s a more sophisticated complaint than the one that you’re currently making.