Roughly 460,000 Applications Filed for Obamacare

(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Administration officials say about 476,000 health insurance applications have been filed through federal and state exchanges, the most detailed measure yet of the problem-plagued rollout of President Barack Obama’s signature legislation.

However, the officials continue to refuse to say how many people have actually enrolled in the insurance markets. Without enrollment figures, it’s unclear whether the program is on track to reach the 7 million people projecting by the Congressional Budget Office to gain coverage during the six-month sign-up period.

Obama’s advisers say the president has been frustrated by the flawed rollout. During one of his daily health care briefings last week, he told advisers assembled in the Oval Office that the administration had to own up to the fact that there were no excuses for not having the website ready to operate as promised.

The president is expected to address the problems on Monday during a health care event at the White House. Cabinet members and other top administration officials will also be traveling around the country in the coming weeks to encourage sign-ups in areas with the highest population of uninsured people.

The first three weeks of sign-ups have been marred by a cascade of computer problems, which the administration says it is working around the clock to correct. The rough rollout has been a glaring embarrassment for Obama, who invested significant time and political capital in getting the law passed during his first term.

The officials said technology experts from inside and outside the government are set to work on the glitches, though they did not say how many workers were being added.

Officials did say staffing has been increased at call centers by about 50 percent. As problems persist on the federally run website, the administration is encouraging more people to sign up for insurance over the phone.

The officials did not want to be cited by name and would not discuss the health insurance rollout unless they were granted anonymity.

Despite the widespread problems, the Obama administration has yet to fully explain what went wrong with the online system consumers were supposed to use to sign up for coverage.

Initially, administration officials blamed a high volume of interest for the frozen screens that many people encountered. Since then, the administration has also acknowledged unspecified problems with software and some elements of the system’s design.

Interest in the insurance markets appears to continue to be high. Officials said about 19 million people had visited HealthCare.gov as of Friday night.

People seeking insurance must fill out applications before selecting specific plans. The applications include personal information, including income figures that are used to calculate any subsidies the applicant may qualify for.

More than one person can be included on an application.

Of the 476,000 applications that have been started, just over half have been from the 36 states where the federal government is taking the lead in running the markets. The rest of the applications have come from the 14 states running their own markets, along with Washington, D.C.

The White House says it plans to release the first enrollment totals from both the federal and state-run markets in mid-November.

An internal memo obtained by The Associated Press showed that the administration projected nearly a half-million people would enroll for the insurance markets during the first month.

Officials say they expect enrollments to be heavier toward the end of the six-month sign-up window.

In an ironic twist, the problems with the rollout were overshadowed by Republican efforts to get changes to the health care law in exchange for funding the government. That effort failed and the government reopened last week with the health care law intact.

Stung by that defeat, some Republicans are now calling for the resignation of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The White House says it has complete confidence in her.

House Republicans have scheduled a hearing next week to look into the rollout problems. White House allies say they’re confident the problems are being addressed.

“There’s no question the marketplace website needs some improvement,” said Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., one of the architects of the law. “The administration needs to fix the computer bugs and I’m confident that they’re working around the clock to fix the problems.”

  • spfldsham

    To bad it does not help the people who have lost their jobs.They use your tax return for the previous year. At that time you made a decent income, and had insurance. It when you don’t have a job or insurance you need it to. So thanks for nothing. Oh sorry. That’s right it’s for the people who already live off the system.

    • HonestABElincoln

      Mr Ham, i am not sure where you got this information, but it is WRONG! If you are jobless you qualify for immediate, free coverage.
      I’m not sure of your motives for this lie, although I can guess jealously over it’s success makes you want to talk BS about it. Or maybe you are just angry, and rightfully so, over losing your job. But that’s no excuse for this nonsense.

      • alpinequeen

        If you are unemployed, you do not get a freebie, you get a subsidy put towards the cost.

  • HonestABElincoln

    I can tell you what went wrong with the computers in one word “Republiscums”. Better check the party affiliation on anyone working on that project, because this small minority is angry they can’t have their way. Like a spoiled little brat throwing a tantrum, they will do anything to try to stop UHC.

    • rick1959

      Just like the Half Rican president does when he can’t get his way also, it works on both sides stupid.

  • neptune51

    It was a Canadian company who designed the system Original deal was for 94 million to do the job. Final cost 293 million and. 3 yrs to do it in affordable care act lmao! It’s going to b a complete failure like every gov entitlement program is

  • Nyrebel9

    People who have insurance thru their employers are going to have a 20%-100% increase. How is that considered affordable? Obama forced it on the citizens of this country by making it law despite nobody wanting it. Obama is so out of touch with the americans. It is all about him and his giant ego. If the health care is so wonderful, why are all the politicians have the choice to opt out which they all did? Employers have already began to cut their employees hours so they don’t have to offer insurance and new hires are only offered part-time work instead of full-time for the same reason. Many doctors are switching their practice to only accept private insurance rather than take patients that are subsidized as their reimbursements are going to be so low. Still waiting for that hope and change he promised!!

  • doggone

    Hope we taxpayers get an “accurate” accounting on what this fiasco ends up costing us when it’s completed.

  • Nyrebel9

    We won’t! Obama has control over the press thru intimidation or being jailed. Another violation of the first amendment. He is a communist! He has to censor the press so he doesn’t look bad. Have you noticed that there has been no follow up to the irs scandal? The secret service prostitute scandal? The outcome of the lavish spending from the gsa? How the Benghazi terrorist attacks were all swept under the carpet ? No follow-up from the ap? Big brother is watching!

  • Nyrebel9

    We will never know all the true facts as the AP is limited to what they can publish. The journalists are threatened with imprisonment and intimidation by a law obama quietly passes thus violating the first amendment. Big brother is watching and obama, the communist is ruling the kingdom. King obama is trying to limit what we should and shouldn’t know. However the obamacare website was suppose to cost $93 million, but the final pricetag is $630 million!! People who try to sign up have spent 25+ hours and still have not succeeded! Why should he care fleecing us taxpayers, it’s not coming out of his pocket. It is all about him!

    • alpinequeen

      Try seeking out the “alternative” media for differing viewpoints. The problem there is separating the wheat from the chaff.

  • Nyrebel9

    Thanks alpinequeen! I do! I am grateful for the journalists who don’t bow down to king obama. I hope i gave the nsa some reading material to scrutinize. I will be waiting for the men in black to show up soon! Lol!