Health Insurance Numbers Creep Up On Obamacare Exchanges - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Health Insurance Numbers Creep Up On Obamacare Exchanges

NBCNEWS.COM - About 365,000 people have managed to get health insurance on the new state and federal websites so far, federal officials announced Wednesday. The numbers are just a trickle compared to what officials had forecast and hoped for, but show that the balky federal website is better than it was at rollout on Oct. 1.

In the first two months the exchanges were open, 137,204 people signed up for health insurance on the federal exchange, being operated for 36 states, while 227,478 have signed up on the 15 state-run exchanges, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs the exchanges, said.

The numbers do not include people who got signed up in December.

"We expect the numbers to grow over time, especially with the technical improvements that have been made to the website," CMS spokeswoman Julie Bataille told reporters on a conference call. One source familiar with the data who has asked not to be named said 29,000 people signed up during the first two days of December.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says she's asked her department's inspector general to review the website's development. "We need a thorough review of the contractor performance and program management structure that resulted in the flawed launch of the website," she wrote in a blog post.

"I am asking the inspector general to review the acquisition process, overall program management, and contractor performance and payment issues related to the development and management of the HealthCare.gov website."

The low numbers reflect the logjams and errors that made the federal website all but impossible for most people to use until December. They suggest it will be difficult to enroll 7 million people by the end of March, as was originally forecast by the Congressional Budget Office before the disastrous rollout.

But they also show that people have at least been trying. More than 39 million people have visited the state and federal websites since Oct. 1, although it's not clear how many of those may have been people logging on using duplicate aliases because of the glitches. Many have said it takes persistence to get signed on.

So far, 2.3 million people have been found eligible to buy insurance on one of the exchanges, CMS says. The officials said they hoped people will finish signing up now that many of the exchanges are working better. Forty percent of them qualify for some sort of subsidy. And more than 800,000 found out they qualified for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

"HealthCare.gov is now working smoothly for the vast majority of users," said Michael Hash, director of the Office of Health Reform at the Health and Human Services Department. "We invite those Americans whose experiences with HealthCare.gov have been frustrating to them so far to come back and try again."

Hash noted that four times as many people had signed up in November as during October, when fewer than 27,000 people managed to buy policies on the federal exchange.

"We think we are on track," Hash said. "We are only two and a half months into a six-month enrollment period. We expect the bulk of the enrollees will occur toward the end of the open enrollment period."

One indication of how much demand outweighs the site's capacity: More than 5 million calls have been made to call centers set up to help people enroll.

Some of the state-run websites have performed far better than the federal exchange. New York reports nearly 70,000 people have signed up there since Oct. 1 -- a number that includes 24,000 people in December. 

Not all have, though. Oregon has only signed up 219 people.

Bataille said CMS is reaching out individually to people who have started but not finished the signing up process to offer help. People who set up accounts got reminder emails in recent weeks.

She said CMS is also working with insurance companies to clear up one of the most serious problems – one that stops the final step of enrolling with a company. She said people need to make sure their applications have gone all the way through, that they have paid their first month's premium and that their chosen insurance company has them on the rolls.

Sebelius, who is scheduled to testify before a House subcommittee Wednesday morning, also says she's creating a new position called chief risk officer to review new initiatives, starting with the information technology contracting process at HealthCare.gov, and improve training on how best to hire contractors.

People have until Dec. 23 to enroll in coverage that will start on Jan. 1, the first possible day of coverage. They have until March 31 to sign up for 2014 and avoid a tax. Experts say most people will wait until the last minute to sign up.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Human remains found at Coeur d'Alene construction site

    Human remains found at Coeur d'Alene construction site

    Wednesday, November 14 2018 1:01 PM EST2018-11-14 18:01:49 GMT

    COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - Coeur d'Alene Police have confirmed with KHQ that human remains were found near 8th and Mullan Tuesday night.  The remains were found by a construction worker who alerted police Tuesday night. New apartments are being built on the site.  Police did not have any additional details to release.  This is a developing story. 

    >>

    COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - Coeur d'Alene Police have confirmed with KHQ that human remains were found near 8th and Mullan Tuesday night.  The remains were found by a construction worker who alerted police Tuesday night. New apartments are being built on the site.  Police did not have any additional details to release.  This is a developing story. 

    >>
  • Can you prank your mom? 'The 25 pound turkey challenge'

    Can you prank your mom? 'The 25 pound turkey challenge'

    Wednesday, December 21 2016 2:36 PM EST2016-12-21 19:36:25 GMT

    KHQ.COM - Most mothers can only hope by the time their children grow up and move out of the house, they've learned all the necessary things to be a successful adult, including the basic knowledge that a turkey must be cooked in an oven, or perhaps in a smoker... NOT in a microwave. For this reason a new prank-challenge going around on Facebook is resulting in some hilarious text conversations between mothers and their grown children.

    >>

    KHQ.COM - Most mothers can only hope by the time their children grow up and move out of the house, they've learned all the necessary things to be a successful adult, including the basic knowledge that a turkey must be cooked in an oven, or perhaps in a smoker... NOT in a microwave. For this reason a new prank-challenge going around on Facebook is resulting in some hilarious text conversations between mothers and their grown children.

    >>
  • Spokane man goes missing during 49ers game

    Spokane man goes missing during 49ers game

    Wednesday, November 14 2018 1:23 PM EST2018-11-14 18:23:22 GMT

    SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Police in California are looking for a missing Spokane man who went missing during the San Francisco 49ers game Monday night.  32-year-old Ian Powers was last seen at the game with his family Monday night. He went to the restroom alone late in the game and hasn't been seen since, police told local media.  

    >>

    SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Police in California are looking for a missing Spokane man who went missing during the San Francisco 49ers game Monday night.  32-year-old Ian Powers was last seen at the game with his family Monday night. He went to the restroom alone late in the game and hasn't been seen since, police told local media.  

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • National NewsMore>>

  • Divers to search bottom of Cascades waterfall for hiker

    Divers to search bottom of Cascades waterfall for hiker

    Wednesday, November 14 2018 4:22 PM EST2018-11-14 21:22:03 GMT

    STEVENS PASS, Wash. (AP) - Rescuers are searching in the water for a missing Chinese businessman who disappeared while hiking near a waterfall in the Cascade Mountains east of Seattle. King County Sheriff's Sgt. Ryan Abbot says investigators believe the 50-year-old man fell Tuesday while visiting the Deception Falls area. 

    >>

    STEVENS PASS, Wash. (AP) - Rescuers are searching in the water for a missing Chinese businessman who disappeared while hiking near a waterfall in the Cascade Mountains east of Seattle. King County Sheriff's Sgt. Ryan Abbot says investigators believe the 50-year-old man fell Tuesday while visiting the Deception Falls area. 

    >>
  • Report cites weak reporting on missing, killed Native women

    Report cites weak reporting on missing, killed Native women

    Wednesday, November 14 2018 4:14 PM EST2018-11-14 21:14:32 GMT
    Urban Indian Health InstituteUrban Indian Health Institute

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A study released by a Native American nonprofit says numerous police departments in cities nationwide are not adequately identifying or reporting cases of missing and murdered indigenous women. In a report released Wednesday, the Seattle-based Urban Indian Health Institute says researchers found some 500 missing persons and homicide cases involving Native American women in 71 cities. 

    >>

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A study released by a Native American nonprofit says numerous police departments in cities nationwide are not adequately identifying or reporting cases of missing and murdered indigenous women. In a report released Wednesday, the Seattle-based Urban Indian Health Institute says researchers found some 500 missing persons and homicide cases involving Native American women in 71 cities. 

    >>
  • West Virginia Police: Reported rabid raccoons actually just drunk

    West Virginia Police: Reported rabid raccoons actually just drunk

    Wednesday, November 14 2018 2:57 PM EST2018-11-14 19:57:31 GMT
    Milton PDMilton PD

    MILTON, W.V. - Go home raccoons, you're rabid…… I mean, drunk. A police department in West Virginia received multiple calls regarding rabid raccoons earlier this week. Turns out the raccoons happened to be simply drunk on fermented crabapples. Milton PD says they caught one of the alleged rabid raccoons Sunday with the help of the city street department, while another was caught on Monday with community assistance. 

    >>

    MILTON, W.V. - Go home raccoons, you're rabid…… I mean, drunk. A police department in West Virginia received multiple calls regarding rabid raccoons earlier this week. Turns out the raccoons happened to be simply drunk on fermented crabapples. Milton PD says they caught one of the alleged rabid raccoons Sunday with the help of the city street department, while another was caught on Monday with community assistance. 

    >>
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • Idaho officials suspend steelhead season in face of lawsuit

    Idaho officials suspend steelhead season in face of lawsuit

    Wednesday, November 14 2018 4:39 PM EST2018-11-14 21:39:41 GMT
    PHOTO: Idaho Department of Fish and GamePHOTO: Idaho Department of Fish and Game

    COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho (AP) - Idaho wildlife officials have decided to suspend the current steelhead fishing season due to a possible federal lawsuit by six conservation groups contending the state's steelhead regulations harm wild steelhead. The Idaho Fish and Game Commission on Wednesday voted to end the current season Dec. 7.    

    >>

    COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho (AP) - Idaho wildlife officials have decided to suspend the current steelhead fishing season due to a possible federal lawsuit by six conservation groups contending the state's steelhead regulations harm wild steelhead. The Idaho Fish and Game Commission on Wednesday voted to end the current season Dec. 7.    

    >>
  • Post Falls man hopes to fly giant American flag at his business

    Post Falls man hopes to fly giant American flag at his business

    Wednesday, November 14 2018 4:36 PM EST2018-11-14 21:36:56 GMT
    Fox Trailers - FacebookFox Trailers - Facebook

    POST FALLS, Idaho (AP) - An Idaho businessman is closer to being able to fly his 375-square-foot (about 35-square-meter) American flag at his trailer dealership in Post Falls. The Coeur d'Alene Press reports the Planning and Zoning Commission on Tuesday unanimously recommended to the Post Falls City Council that the city's zoning code be changed so such flags of up to 400 square feet (about 37 square meters) can be flown in non-residential areas.    

    >>

    POST FALLS, Idaho (AP) - An Idaho businessman is closer to being able to fly his 375-square-foot (about 35-square-meter) American flag at his trailer dealership in Post Falls. The Coeur d'Alene Press reports the Planning and Zoning Commission on Tuesday unanimously recommended to the Post Falls City Council that the city's zoning code be changed so such flags of up to 400 square feet (about 37 square meters) can be flown in non-residential areas.    

    >>
  • Grant County Sheriff's Office offers $1500 reward for rifle stolen from patrol car

    Grant County Sheriff's Office offers $1500 reward for rifle stolen from patrol car

    Wednesday, November 14 2018 4:30 PM EST2018-11-14 21:30:07 GMT
    Suspect arrested in drive by shooting.Suspect arrested in drive by shooting.

    GRANT COUNTY, Wash. - The Grant County Sheriff's Office is offering a reward for the return of a rifle stolen from a deputy's patrol vehicle in Moses Lake. A reward of $1,500 is being offered for the return of a patrol rifle, which was stolen from a patrol car while it was parked outside a Moses Lake home on Wednesday morning. 

    >>

    GRANT COUNTY, Wash. - The Grant County Sheriff's Office is offering a reward for the return of a rifle stolen from a deputy's patrol vehicle in Moses Lake. A reward of $1,500 is being offered for the return of a patrol rifle, which was stolen from a patrol car while it was parked outside a Moses Lake home on Wednesday morning. 

    >>