- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Fewer than 50,000 people had signed up for insurance through the troubled HealthCare.gov website as of last week — far short of the administration’s goal of 500,000 for October, the Wall Street Journal reports.

For weeks, the Obama administration has predicted that enrollment would start slowly and pick up speed by early December, when enrollees race to buy plans in time to gain coverage by Jan. 1. But if slow-enrollment trends continue because of Web glitches or a lack of interest in the exchanges, it could spell trouble for the president’s health care overhaul.

“We cannot confirm these numbers,” Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman Joanne Peters told Politico. “[A]s we have said, the problems with the website will cause the numbers to be lower than initially anticipated.”

HHS is supposed to release figures this week.

The federal site, which has been plagued by glitches and other issues since enrollment opened Oct. 1, serves 36 states. But just 3 percent of those expected to eventually sign up for Obamacare’s state-based health markets in a dozen states running their own markets have actually signed up so far, according to an analysisMonday from a health consultancy that predicted the pace will eventually pick up.

Avalere Health said that by the end of next year, the 12 states are expected to have 1.4 million enrollees in their health exchanges. As of Sunday, though, 49,100 had actually signed up.

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Those figures, however, do not include the more than 440,000 people who have signed up for Medicaid in 10 states, according to a separate Avalere report, and California has not released its numbers, Politico reported.

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