Obamacare Enrollment Tops Six Million as Deadline Looms

Obamacare Enrollment Tops Six Million as Deadline Looms

Milestone gives the White House some ammunition against Republican critics four days before the enrollment ends

More than 6 million people have now signed up for private insurance plans under President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law known as Obamacare, reflecting a surge in enrollments days before the March 31 deadline, the White House said on Thursday.

The milestone gives the White House some ammunition to use against Republican critics, who have described the program as a flop in the build-up to midterm congressional campaigns in November, when Democratic control of the U.S. Senate is at stake.

Only 10 days ago, the administration had pegged enrollment at more than 5 million people, and enlisted celebrities and top government officials to try to persuade more uninsured people — particularly the young and healthy — to sign up.

See video:  Adam Scott Pitches Obamacare as His Insane ‘Step Brothers’ Character 

The last-minute boost has exceeded the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office's estimate that 6 million people would sign up in the program's first year, down from earlier expectations of 7 million enrollees because of problems with websites used for shopping for insurance.

Opinion polls show the program, formally called the Affordable Care Act, is unpopular. A national survey by the Pew Research Center between February 27 and March 16 found 53 percent disapproved of the law.

Obama's poll ratings have been hit hard by the poor rollout of the program.

See video: Jonah Hill, Jennifer Lopez, Adam Levine's Mothers Share Childhood Tales in New Obamacare Campaign

Even while traveling in Italy on Thursday, Obama could not escape controversy about the program. After he visited Pope Francis, the Vatican issued a statement expressing concern about the law's requirement that employers cover the cost of contraception in insurance plans.

From Italy, Obama spoke on a conference call with several thousand people who are helping people enroll in the plans, the White House said.

“The president encouraged the navigators and volunteers to redouble their efforts over the next four days and leave no stone unturned,” the White House said in a statement.

See video: Nobody In Jimmy Kimmel's Audience Has Signed Up for Obamacare 

The administration has been aggressively courting the 18- to 34-year-old age group in the waning days of enrollment, a group they have argued would be the last to sign up, but whose participation is vital to keep future insurance costs down.

Younger consumers tend to be healthier and cheaper to insure, compensating for the higher costs associated with older and sicker enrollees.

Data as of February showed only a quarter of enrollees were aged 18 to 34, short of the goal of 38 percent that administration officials set out before enrollment began last October.

No official updates have since been provided, but there have been signs the marketing to young people was starting to pay off.

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“We are starting to see younger consumers at a higher rate here towards the end of March,” said Kevin Kossen, vice president of retail marketing at Health Care Service Corp, a holding company for Blue Cross Blue Shield in Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

Kossen said his company has seen an increase in enrollment over the past two weeks, with more calls to sales centers and online purchases.

On HealthCare.gov, the website used to sign up for insurance in 36 states, traffic has been heavy.

The White House said the site had more than 1.5 million visits on Wednesday, while call centers received more than 430,000 calls, the White House said.

See video: President Obama Says Zach Galifianakis ‘Was Actually Pretty Nervous’ During ‘Between Two Ferns’ Interview 

Monday and Tuesday also saw more than 1 million visits to the website and more than 350,000 calls to call centers, according to posts on Twitter by HealthCare.gov.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told Congress earlier this month that the administration would not extend the March 31 enrollment deadline.

The law requires most Americans to be enrolled in insurance by that date, or pay a penalty.

But this week, the agency overseeing HealthCare.gov said there will be a grace period for people who say they experienced technical difficulties on the website or long wait times at federal call centers.

(Additional reporting by Caroline Humer in New York; Editing by Sandra Maler; and Peter Galloway)

  • Michael Lang

    Why won't the administration release the the number of those who have actually paid? 6 million = BS.

    • Wayne Breezee

      The problem there is there's no way for them to know. The ability to pay your premium through the exchange website wasn't setup to begin with, plus most companies prefer that the customers pay directly to them. Thus the exchange has no way of knowing if a customer pays or not till tax time when the companies issue tax forms providing proof of coverage.

      • edog355

        BS – the companies can very easily report to the government the number of signups vs. the number of those who signed up AND paid their initial bill.

        • Steve Parker

          @edog355……….I would think the companies could report the correct numbers and maybe they did, that would answer the question, why the Obama administration extended the deadline to signup.

    • Larry46

      Because most of the enrollees (not the 6 million who have “signed up”) are not paying the full premium. The overwhelming number is made up of people who are subsidize through tax credits, on Medicaid and not paying at all or who are delinquent in paying the premium. If they dare to say that they can't determine who is paying then any sane person would have to question the government's ability to administer to administer the whole program.

  • Craig

    So 6 million people have lost their plan and 6,000,000 (BS number) have “signed up” for Obamacare? They get to claim victory over this? There are supposedly 30-40 million without health insurance. Why would 6,000,000 be a great number? Reportedly about 10-20% of these signups are people who didn't have coverage before. What a joke

  • D

    bs! number..we know better than that

  • shakasal

    I wonder how many were the ones dropped from their prior insurance when they all told they could keep their insurance and doctor? I wonder how many signed for Medicare? I wonder how many paid and will continue to pay? And then how many are the young people who are needed to float this shipwreck!!! Such a hollow headline!!! It's all so misleading unless their signups were NEW and formerly UNINSURED!!! I hope people realize this before they go touting how much this Obamacare failure of a law is touted!!! Wait until their total new costs, deductibles and co-pays go up!!! I'd like to hear how many Americans are truly happy then!!! Such a crock!!!

  • The Al

    If this figure comes from the govt. ya know its bogus,like the job's created numbers-the people working numbers-the unemployed numbers all propaganda bullshit. Remember all those so called Dr.'s at the white house supporting obammy care with their back's to the camera,another propaganda scam-they were not Dr.;s Anyone can put a white outfit on so america wake up or are you going to let the great leader run your life because he know's what's good for you.

  • monkeyman

    Six million down and only a three hundred and fifty nine million to go! That's great mr.fake Irish Wreckingball Prezbro from Kenya, Hawaii.

  • monkeyman

    The six million if six million are not six million paying insurance customers as they are those who are now illegible for entitlements under the O'Bamacare banner. It's called Medicaid/Medical. They are a burden on the taxpayers and will expand the National Debt and raise the penalty/premium of those who are being screwedBy this 10% Tax on the Middle Class gross income or what is left of it since the BlackAlinsky usurped the power of the presidency as illegally as a mexicanWetBack!

  • ROSSMAN

    No mater what they say enrollment is, It's a lie.

  • William S Kilgore

    And the source of this 6-million figure is…..TA-DA… The White House. If you believe that, you might want to sign-up for the seminar Bill Clinton is giving on marital fidelity.

  • rick

    “No official updates have since been provided”. So where did this 6 million figure come from? Phony/ I think so. Its not being reported anywhere else.

  • Clarence

    Why would you not extend the deadline if there is a demand for coverage?This should not be a big deal.

  • Freddie King

    If the number 6 million comes he Obama Administration, it's almost certainly a lie or fabrication. They burned the bridge of trust with a majority of thinking Americans, which I recognize leaves a lot of true believing morons who would support Obama if he roasted alive and ate a puppy on TV.

  • edog355

    Well since 7 million were booted off their plans, looks like they only have another 1 million sign ups to go to prevent a net loss of insured folks thanks to ObamaCare.

  • rap2564

    What I would like to know, is how many of the 6 million that have signed up for obamacare had insurance before the law and lost it because of the law. Or in other words, how many that have signed up never had insurance prior to obamacare.

  • Beth Lewis

    But of these 6 million how many have paid or are paying enrollee's?
    How many are Medicaid and if medicaid then are they legal or illegal?.
    Gov Brown made the announcement week before last that Medicaid in Ca had signed up over 110,000 illegals in this program.
    Are they counted in the 6 million?
    At this rate maybe 12 million a year will sign up (PAID FOR ??????????) will take appx. 30 years to get the over 300 million CITIZENS signed up then you have another over 12 million ILLEGALS.that Blue states will put on the backs of taxpayers to foot the bill.
    But wait Obama has excused UNION workers, and other cohorts so , before you brag gives us only the facts .
    HOW MANY HAVE SIGNED UP THAT ARE FREELOADERS (taxpayers pay the bill for their insurance)?
    If you are 100% subsidized by the Gov you are not a paying insured.
    How many have actually paid a premium out of their own pocket?
    Do not count those on Medicare as they are paid for in payroll taxes from both employee and employer.

    Being an enrollee signifies that you have signed up , but does not say you have paid.

    • Larry46

      Great questions, unfortunately the gutless media doesn't ask them. How about asking this one: “For years the Left has thrown around the unsubstantiated numbers of 35-48 million people who are uninsured. Considering the 7 million previously insured people who lost their coverage as collateral damage of Obamacare, what is the uninsured number now?”

    • Steve Parker

      @

      Beth Lewis………..

      Well stated. It seems the Obama administration counts the 39% that signed up for Medicaid insured. Yes insured by tax dollars, not paid by the enrolled. The latest numbers from qualified sources listing paid signups are 60%. Obamacare is the biggest COW PLOP and working men and woman still don't know how it will effect them with their company insurance.

  • Arcadius

    Sebelius perjured herself and obama is lying about the actual number of people enrolled. The polls do not lie, the polls say that people are signing up through gritted teetn and will vote the liberal fascists out.

  • Jiger

    Of the 6 million enrolled more then half are making slim to none payments and 1/3 haven't even paid their premiums yet. This is BS….

  • HALO101st

    Six million signed up? Talk about a lie! HAHAHAHAHA!

  • Kent Carter

    Obamacare is already in a “Death Spiral”……..the only ones signing up are those with expensive pre-existing conditions and those who get free/subsidized healthcare. The healthcare insurers will be requesting bail-outs in the tens of billions and insurance companies are projecting that premiums will double next year over the already high Obamacare premiums.

  • Kent Carter

    Obama keeps deferring the “Employer Mandate” until after the mid-term election because he doesn't want the public to know that 80-100M more Americans will have their healthcare insurance cancelled!!!

  • Kent Carter

    The government estimated that only 50% of the 6M who signed up actually paid a premium. An individual is not covered by healthcare insurance until a premium has been paid!!!

  • Kent Carter

    Obamacare needs 40% of the young to sign up to ensure the financial solvency of this program…….only 25% are signing up!!!

  • Kent Carter

    In 2010, the Federal Registry, a government publication, included a governement study indicating that 129M Americans would lose their healthcare insurance due to Obamacare. However, the LIAR-IN-CHIEF kept repeating that we could keep our healthcare insurance and doctor………PERIOD!!!