Why January Has Been Obamacare's Best Month

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The Obama administration announced on Friday that 3 million individuals have enrolled in private Obamacare plans through this week. 

That means about 800,000 people have enrolled in plans in January so far, though there isn't a major deadline this month (other than the January 15 deadline for insurance starting February 1). In that sense, this is the Affordable Care Act's best month so far — for the first time it's on track to meet its monthly enrollment goal. As Sarah Kliff explains at The Washington Post, the administration predicted that 1.1 million people would enroll in private plans during January — at this rate, that might happen. Due to website being a mess, October and November's enrollments fell well below target. December fell short, too. And while the administration has said that enrollment numbers don't matter as much as the ratio of young to old enrollees, better numbers imply high interest. 

To give a sense of how far enrollments have come, remember that the administration expected 500,000 to enroll in October. Only 106,000 did. Worse, that number was revealed through a leak through the Associated Press. It was embarrassing:

This month's goal of 1.1 million, on the other hand, is very doable. Now the Obama administration's biggest challenge — at least, as far as enrollment numbers are concerned — will be making up for lost time. As The Huffington Post notes, this month's final enrollment number is expected to be 3.23 million. Early predictions set the end of January at 4.4 million private plan enrollments. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.