The numbers are in; 106,185 people selected plans under the Affordable Care Act in October, the Obama administration said today.
The administration released the highly anticipated statistics on enrollments in health exchanges. Another 975,000 people have applied and received an eligibity notice, but have not yet selected a plan.
Of those, only 26,794 used the much maligned federal site healthcare.gov. Everybody else signed up using state exchanges, such as Covered California.
A report released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also showed that California determined about 80,000 lower-income people would be eligible for expanded Medicaid coverage under the national health care overhaul.
California counts nearly 7 million people without health coverage. An estimated 2.3 million are expected to enroll in a health plan through the new agency, known as Covered California, by 2017.
The overall figures are better than the The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week, when they estimated that the number of enrollees was between 40,000 and 50,000.
The Affordable Care Act enrollment numbers are far from the 500,000 sign ups the Obama administration hoped for during the first month of open enrollment.
The Affordable Care Act has been under much scrutiny as of late after a disastrous rollout of healthcare.gov – which serves as the marketplace for 36 states. California has its own marketplace called Covered California.
The state exchange saw about 30 thousand enrollments through its first month in operation and an uptick after that, 29 thousand more from November 1st through yesterday, which is more than Executive Director Peter Lee says they were expecting,
"We always expected October to not be a month about enrollment, to be about kicking the tires. What has actually happened has exceeded our expectations."
Lee says they're very pleased but there's still a very long way to go to reach a forecast of 500 thousand to 700 thousand subsidized plans by March.
On a positive note, the website is getting a bit more user friendly. In a new survey 70% said it was easy.
That said, the site will actually be shut down again this weekend for maintenance.
On the less successful federal front, the White House has made statements saying that healthcare.gov will be working smoothly by Nov. 30, but critics are anticipating more problems.
In order for the program to be successful, there will have to be about half-a-million enrollments per month during the six month open enrollment period. In earlier remarks, White House spokesman Jay Carney set a low bar of expectations and predicted that "no one will be satisfied" with the numbers from the first month.