Obamacare seems to be finally enjoying some measure of success. According to officials with the United States government, over 2.1 million individual citizens have signed up for health insurance plans via new state and federal websites that were introduced in October as part of President Barack Obama’s healthcare initiative.
This still leaves it decidedly less than the 3.3 million that President Obama and his healthcare advisors were hoping would happen by the end of 2013. However, they still recognize this statistic as a noticeable improvement in comparison to the beginning of the initiative, when the number of those signing up was only about 150,000. Most of the reason for this low number at the time was due to a litany of technical issues with the federally created website for Obamacare.
Obamacare, officially known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act, has gained momentum during the past month due to some great improvements in the website. Also, many Americans had the goal of having new health insurance by the start of the new year.
Many of those who have signed up this month were doing so by Christmas Eve in order to start receiving benefits by January 1. Of course, this gave health insurance companies a very small window of time to get coverage and physician assignments online and accessible.
Of the 2.1 million individuals that enlisted for private insurance did so through the official federal webpage. There are, however, 14 states as well as Washington, D.C. which have their own websites for citizens to obtain coverage.
Kathleen Sebelius, United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, told reporters that over three million citizens were found to be eligible for the Children’s Health Insurance Program and Medicaid. However, she did say that this included renewals. Both of these programs are for the lower income population.
The federally created website for citizens to sign up for health care crashed not long after it was introduced on October 1. It performed rather sporadically during the weeks that followed.
The situation disappointed many who were trying to get enrolled for health coverage. The sign-up problems also hurt the credibility of the Obama administration and their much promoted and promised healthcare initiative. Two government officials resigned from the government agency that was responsible for introducing the website.
Officials in the Obama administration are hopeful that these problems are behind them. They have now made available a more efficient program for the enrollment of millions of United States citizens to get health coverage that may have previously been unobtainable. Citizens have until the end of March to sign up for 2014 coverage.
However, the upcoming year promises to bring a new set of challenges as many will begin to use their health coverage. Government officials have admitted that many issues occurred with transmitting enrollment information to insurance companies. Most of this occurred with the website’s introduction. Sebelius said that the first of the year marks a new time in health care and that millions of Americans will now have access to affordable coverage.
By Rick Hope