(WASHINGTON) — Just six people successfully enrolled in health insurance plans through the new federal marketplace, HealthCare.gov, on the first day it went live, according to internal Obama administration “notes” released Thursday night by the House Oversight Committee.
By the end of the second day, 248 people had enrolled, the documents show.
The “war room notes,” prepared by the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, offer the first rough snapshot of how many Americans were able to enroll on Oct. 1 and 2, reflecting all the technical snafus that plagued the site.
The informal memos were turned over this week as part of a document request to the Republican-chaired House Oversight Committee, which is investigating the rocky rollout of the insurance portal. They clearly indicate recognition that “direct enrollment [was] not working” because of “high capacity” on the site, though the documents note that dozens of applications were getting created.
To date, Obama administration officials have refused to publicly provide any estimate of successful enrollments, though they have said the site received 4.7 million unique visitors on its first day and has now generated more than 700,000 applications.
An internal administration memo revealed that the administration projected half a million successful sign-ups by Oct. 31.
In her testimony this week, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius suggested that the now well-documented technical flaws in the system make any early estimate unreliable.
“We do not have any reliable data around enrollment, which is why we haven’t given it to date,” she told the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday.
“According to the insurance companies, who are eager to have customers, they are not getting reliable data all the way through the system,” she explained. “It’s one of the real problems that we have.”
HHS spokeswoman Joanne Peters stressed Thursday night that the enrollment figures presented in the “war room notes” are unofficial figures. The agency has said it intends to release its first official report on enrollments by mid-November.
“We will release enrollment statistics on a monthly basis after coordinating information from different sources such as paper, online, and call centers, verifying with insurers, and collecting data from states,” she said.
Administration officials have also sought to downplay low early enrollment estimates by citing the Massachusetts experience of 2007, when just 123 people successfully enrolled in the first month of “Romneycare.”
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