"We expect enrollment will grow substantially throughout the next five months, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement.
Those enrollment figures compare to the roughly 17 million Americans who the Kaiser Family Foundation previously estimated are eligible to use premium subsidies to purchase coverage in exchanges.
The enrollment figures—especially those in states where HHS runs the exchanges—reinforces the huge difficulties HHS has had with its website, HealthCare.gov, the primary way potential enrollees are expected to select and enroll in coverage. From the beginning, the site has frequently crashed, with potential enrollees also experiencing long wait times.
But Secretary Sebelius said enrollment figures will grow steadily as improvements are made to HealthCare.gov. Federal regulators noted that enrollment in other health care programs—such as the exchange created by Massachusetts after the enactment of its 2006 healthcare reform law when Mitt Romney was governor—also grew slowly initially, with enrollment later dramatically increasing.
The HHS report noted that nearly 1 million Americans have received confirmation that they are eligible to buy coverage through the exchanges but have not done so yet.
Among the states that are running their own exchanges and have reported enrollment information, the most enrollees—35,364—were in California, followed by New York with 16,404. Not all states, though, have disclosed enrollment information.
In states where the federal government runs exchanges, Florida had the most enrollees—3,571—followed by Texas with 2,991 and Pennsylvania with 2,207.
This report appeared on the website of Business Insurance magazine, a Chicago-based sister publication of Tire Business.