In the first full month since the marketplace for new health insurance plans under the Affordable Healthcare Act opened on October 1, over 106,000 people across the nation have selected plans. Not exactly metrics to pop champagne over, but U.S. Health and Human Services Sec. Kathleen Sebelius said they expect those numbers to improve over the next few months when she announced the enrollment numbers this afternoon. Another 975,407 people at least made it through the application and eligibility process, but haven't selected a plan yet, said Sebelius.
Getting through that process has not been an easy ride for millions of Americans who've tried and failed to access the Obamacare plans through the online portal Healthcare.gov. The website probably won't get fixed anytime soon. Meanwhile, the HHS administration has appointed "Navigators" -- community-based Obamacare evangelists dispatched to help people sign up for health insurance through other options. The Tea Party has been publicly attacking the Navigators program as part of their larger agenda to derail Obamacare.
Meanwhile, today's enrollment numbers also include an additional 396,261 people who have been determined eligible for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
"There is no doubt the level of interest is strong," said Sec. Sebellius when announcing the figures. "We expect enrollment will grow substantially throughout the next five months ... They're also numbers that will grow as the website, HealthCare.gov, continues to make steady improvements."