According to newly-released documents from the House Oversight Committee, Healthcare.gov processed just six successful insurance enrollments on its first day in business. By the end of day two, there were 248 enrollments. The administration needs an average of 39,000 enrollments a day to meet its goals, according to CBS News, who first reported on the documents. The Department of Health and Human Services has promised to release enrollment numbers on a monthly basis, starting this month.
Health and Human Services pointed out to the Washington Post that the numbers do not represent officially released enrollment figures, nor would they include, say, paper enrollments. But their context — from so-called "war room" meetings of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight in the days following the roll out — leaves little wiggle room for what else they could possibly represent. Here's an excerpt of an October 2nd morning meeting, from the Post:
"6 enrollments/834s spread across 5 issuers," the notes from a morning meeting on Oct. 2 read. "No failures...Issuers include BCBS NC, BCBS Kansas City and CareSource. Healthcare Service Corporation had the 2 enrollments."
The "834" in the notes pertains to the form used to send enrollment information to insurers. Health and Human Services officials have said that the unreliability of that form is part of the reason the White House hasn't been able to release official enrollment figures. The meeting notes also detail the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services's attempts to fix the many issue that cropped up with the site early on, including capacity issues. One note reads, "High capacity on the website, direct enrollment not working, VA system not connecting."
The White House expects about 7 million Americans to enroll in the exchanges by March, and have noted that the rate of enrollment will almost certainly increase as Affordable Care Act deadlines get closer. Recently, the administration granted a six-week extension to the effective enrollment deadline to avoid a tax penalty, matching that date to the end of the current open enrollment period on March 31. In the meantime, officials are tapping a cornucopia of resources and experts to try and fix the site as quickly as possible. The White House has said that they expect to have the site working properly by November 30th, with an eye on giving Americans enough time to enroll in the first wave of plans, set to start at the beginning of 2014.
The full documents are below, via CBS News:
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.