House committee: Only six people signed up for coverage on Healthcare.gov's first day

McClatchy Washington BureauNovember 1, 2013 

New documents released by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa indicate that only six people nationwide managed to enroll in health coverage through the troubled Healthcare.gov website on Oct. 1, the first day of open enrollment for 2014 coverage.

According to a committee press statement, "The numbers come from notes taken during “War Room” meetings with project contractors and government officials at the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance (CCIIO), part of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services" at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Enrollment increased to "approximately 100" people by the afternoon of Oct. 2 and had jumped to 248, according to notes from a morning meeting on Oct. 3.

Because the Obama administration won't release official enrollment data until mid November, the meeting notes offer the first hint of how slowly enrollment was actually progressing due to technical problems that have plagued the site.

The meeting notes were part of "an information request sent to 11 of the top contractors that worked on the HealthCare.gov website," a committee press statement said.

Joanne Peters, an HHS spokesperson would not confirm the accuracy of the numbers.

"These appear to be notes, they do not include official enrollment statistics," Peters said in a statement. "We will release enrollment statistics on a monthly basis after coordinating information from different sources such as paper, on-line, and call centers, verifying with insurers, and collecting data from states."

As for the low enrollment numbers suggested by the notes, Peters said "We have always anticipated that the pace of enrollment will increase throughout the enrollment period.” In Massachussetts, which passed a universal health care law in 2006, "only 0.3% or 123 people signed up for coverage" in the first month, Peters said. "By the second month, it jumped to 2,289, around 6.3%."

Ultimately, more than 36,000 people signed up for coverage in the first year in Massachussetts, Peters added. The HHS meeting documents are available here:

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