Healthcare // Analytics
News
11/4/2013
03:20 PM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

21% Of Obamacare Visitors Have Enrolled

Despite websites' technical problems, many people managed to obtain insurance, according to Commonwealth Fund survey.

Healthcare Robotics: Patently Incredible Inventions
Healthcare Robotics: Patently Incredible Inventions
(click image for larger view)
Despite all of the glitches in HealthCare.gov and, to a lesser extent, state-run health insurance exchange sites, 21% of adults who visited the state and federally operated health insurance marketplaces enrolled in a health plan, a new Commonwealth Fund survey found. Those who did not enroll said they were not sure they could afford a plan (48%), were still deciding on a plan (46%), had technical difficulties with the website (37%), or cited all three reasons. The nationally representative poll queried 680 people.

Overall, 17% of Americans who are potentially eligible for coverage have visited the new health insurance marketplaces to buy coverage via e-mail, Internet, phone or in person, according to the research. Of those who visited a marketplace, 34% went to a state-run marketplace, and 66% visited the federally operated marketplace. Therefore, it can be inferred that the majority of those who had technical difficulties with the exchanges went to HealthCare.gov, said Sara Collins, VP of the healthcare coverage and access program at the Commonwealth Fund, a Boston-based research and advocacy organization.

The data doesn't show whether a lower percentage of people who went to the state-run sites than of those who visited healthcare.gov had trouble enrolling in a health plan, Collins said in an interview. However, she added, "Some states have had fewer [technical] problems, and more people have been able to enroll in states like Kentucky, Washington and California. So they likely had better experiences and were better able to enroll in plans than those who visited the federal sites."

[ Healthcare brokers are vying to help ObamaCare. Read EHealth To Obama: We Can Run HealthCare.gov. ]

Although the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has not yet released initial enrollment figures for HealthCare.gov, enrollment is off to a strong start in some states. Nearly 174,000 New Yorkers have applied for insurance, and 37,000 have been enrolled. Covered California started nearly 180,000 applications in its first month. And Washington State's insurance website had enrolled almost 49,000 people through Oct. 28.

In the Commonwealth Fund survey, more than half of adults who visited the insurance marketplaces said they found it impossible or difficult to find a plan with the type of coverage they needed or compare the plans on benefits and costs. In contrast, 38% of respondents said it was easy to find a plan with the coverage they desired.

Collins cautioned against reading too much into these findings. The major issue in the first month of ACA enrollment, she said, was the imperfect operations of the exchange sites. So the difficulty in comparing plans was likely related to these technical difficulties.

"On the affordability issue, people probably had difficulty finding out if they were eligible for subsidies," she added.

One other obstacle to using the exchange sites, she noted, are the impediments that some states have thrown up to the outreach counselors, also known as "navigators," who are supposed to help individuals understand their insurance choices and enroll in plans. Ohio, Missouri and Georgia require navigators to get licenses, and "17 states have passed legislation to restrict what they can do," Collins said.

Regarding language barriers, she noted that all of the exchange sites are legally required to provide instructions in both English and Spanish. However, she couldn't say whether all of them did.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
MyW0r1d
50%
50%
MyW0r1d,
User Rank: Strategist
11/7/2013 | 10:32:19 PM
re: 21% Of Obamacare Visitors Have Enrolled
The Commonwealth Fund seems to be everything but the balanced voice some would like to accredit to it. The topics they choose to publish on and the venues they speak at can attest to their supporters and may explain the numbers they produce. Any statistics or polls to me are dubious without full transparency on the characteristics of their sample.
KennethK239
50%
50%
KennethK239,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/7/2013 | 8:00:00 PM
re: 21% Of Obamacare Visitors Have Enrolled
Tennesee and etc that actually setup their own exchange?
David F. Carr
50%
50%
David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
11/7/2013 | 3:42:15 PM
re: 21% Of Obamacare Visitors Have Enrolled
The successes seem to be largely related to the states that did not rely on Healthcare.gov.
Ken Terry
50%
50%
Ken Terry,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/6/2013 | 7:19:26 PM
re: 21% Of Obamacare Visitors Have Enrolled
The Commonwealth Fund, a respected research organization, asked whether people who visited the "marketplaces" had enrolled on websites, by email, by phone or in person. So it wasn't all about the websites. Also, the state exchange sites worked much better than healthcare.gov. So I don't think it's strange to find that 20% managed to enroll (although I think that some people confused enrollment with starting an application, which is something else).
kkinnison
50%
50%
kkinnison,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/5/2013 | 8:39:42 PM
re: 21% Of Obamacare Visitors Have Enrolled
Not provider, plan. And in general, that plan had to be improved to have the min coverage.
Turns out about 60% of american's change their plan every year anyway, so it's hard to extrapolate useful numbers.
Regarding the post? It's suspect, 670 is too small a polling group, and even the most lefty shouldn't buy a 21% conversion rate. I'd expect a much lower rate purely due to window shopping.
GAProgrammer
50%
50%
GAProgrammer,
User Rank: Ninja
11/5/2013 | 7:53:58 PM
re: 21% Of Obamacare Visitors Have Enrolled
Except that it was reported today that well of 50% of Americans are being forced to change their provider because of the way it was written. Otherwise, spot on Goober!
UberGoober
50%
50%
UberGoober,
User Rank: Strategist
11/5/2013 | 6:49:40 PM
re: 21% Of Obamacare Visitors Have Enrolled
Sorry, Terry, wrong on two fronts.

First, With the tiny enrollment numbers, there's absolutely no way they have a 21% enrollment rate. Not in anyone's wildest dreams. The study is obviously seriously flawed, and no amount of willing suspension of disbelief will get you past that if you have even a few brain cells sparking together.

Second, it is a typical liberal stance that 'something has to be done by the gubmint.' Some arbitrary something is seldom better than nothing, and this particular something is about as likely to work as Soviet Communism. Neither took into account human nature. What we're going to see is a government funded death spiral. There are potential solutions, but this was never going to be one.

But hey, you can keep your insurance if you like it. Period. Maybe. Til next year. If Barry likes it.
TerryB
50%
50%
TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
11/5/2013 | 6:21:27 PM
re: 21% Of Obamacare Visitors Have Enrolled
You guys need to read better. The 21% is from the 680 people they polled. I visited the site to look at it, had no intention of enrolling because I have health insurance though work. So you can't extrapolate the 21% across all site visits.
Still waiting for all the people complaining about Obamacare to come up a better plan. Doing nothing, leaving me and other taxpayers paying for uninsured sick people showing up at hospital, is not a plan.
This is not a free market solvable problem. Nobody wants to spend ANYTHING on health care unless they are sick, there is nothing fun about getting that service. And no one but the very richest people can afford to pay for any significant health care episode, leaving no choice but to have insurance. Insurance companies aren't in business to heal as many people as possible, they simply want to take in premiums without paying back out, that's how they make money. And that's all they care about in a free market, or should care about. So Obamacare, even with all it's current flaws, was at least an effort to address this. So can everyone quit whining, make all the improvements we can to the current law over time, and move on. The failure of a website has nothing to do with the big picture of why Obamacare is here.
JEngdahlJ
50%
50%
JEngdahlJ,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/5/2013 | 2:35:27 PM
re: 21% Of Obamacare Visitors Have Enrolled
Insurers selling qualified health plans on the exchanges must assess their ability to reach their target markets. http://www.healthcaretownhall....
UberGoober
50%
50%
UberGoober,
User Rank: Strategist
11/4/2013 | 10:41:15 PM
re: 21% Of Obamacare Visitors Have Enrolled
Gee, 5 million visitors the first day, 6 (that's 6, not 6 million) actually enrolled. Healthcare.gov math is haaaard! Somehow, to them .00012% equals 21%. Oh, well, 0 doesn't mean anything, and everybody transposes a digit occasionally.

Seriously, what level of gullibility does it take to publish this story?
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Big Love for Big Data? The Remedy for Healthcare Quality Improvements
Big Love for Big Data? The Remedy for Healthcare Quality Improvements
Healthcare data is nothing new, but yet, why do healthcare improvements from quantifiable data seem almost rare today? Healthcare administrators have a wealth of data accessible to them but aren't sure how much of that data is usable or even correct.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Government Oct. 20, 2014
Energy and weather agencies are busting long-held barriers to analyzing big data. Can the feds now get other government agencies into the movement?
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
A roundup of the top stories and trends on InformationWeek.com
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.