The magic number is 7 million, that’s the number of Obamacare signups the administration has
been touting as their goal for the first 6 months of the
exchanges but at this rate it seems as the actual number will be just shy of a million.
While the administration has refused to release information about actual
signups to his signature legislation, Millward Brown Digital (formerly
Compete, inc.) prepared an analysis of the consumer activity on the
various healthcare exchanges since the launch of Obamacare, and it’s not very pretty, approximately .004 of the people who have visited healtcare.gov actually signed up for the service.
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Over the course of Obamacare’s first week, 9.5 million people visited healthcare.gov, the federal government’s official healthcare website and the de facto exchange for residents of two thirds of the states. In addition, the 16 operational state-run exchanges combined to attract over 3.1 million visitors during the same period. In total, 11.3 million consumers visited the federal and state exchanges during their first week of operation. Unfortunately, what started as a fire hose of interest, resulted in only a small trickle of actual healthcare enrollments.
Among the visitors to healthcare.gov, 5.7 million (or 60% of total visitors to the site) navigated to the individual marketplace landing page where, after selecting their state, they were either directed to continue using the federal site or were redirected to their state-run exchange. From here 1.3 million left for their state-run exchange, while another 3.7 million attempted to register on healthcare.gov. The latter didn’t get far. For two thirds of these consumers, the site either hung or failed altogether before it was finally taken offline over the first weekend.
Despite a myriad of issues with the site, just over a million consumers actually made it through the first gauntlet and successfully registered on healthcare.gov, after which they were sent verification emails. Problems persisted as consumers next encountered difficulty verifying their email addresses and logging into the accounts they had just created. Over 214,000 consumers sought help on the “I’m having trouble logging in to my marketplace account” page, making it one of the most popular pages on the site. Just 27% of those who registered on healthcare.gov successfully logged into accounts.
For those that could log in, the next step was enrollment. Over 196,000 consumers began the over 30-step enrollment process that first week, although the majority stopped well short of completion. This is likely a reflection both of continued technical issues as well as consumers lacking the requisite time, information (or patience?) to proceed through all the enrollment steps. In the end, just 36,000 consumers, or 1% of all those who attempted to register for the federal exchange, successfully enrolled in Obamacare.
The White House will eventually fix the software causing the so called glitches preventing people from registering for either the federal or one of the state exchanges. However the low rate of successful registrations to actual signups (3.6%) means in order to meet its goal of 7 million there would need to be 194,638,880 people successfully registered at Healthcare.gov. In 2008 there were 228,182,000 adults 18+ in the country a number representing 85% of every adult in the country (Note: later numbers were unavailable because the shutdown has closed Census.gov).
One-hundred-ninety-five million signups represent a mighty hard number for Healthcare.gov to achieve in 26 weeks.