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Fewer Than 27,000 Federal Exchange Enrollees at End of First Month of Open Enrollment, HHS Reports

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On Nov. 13, HHS released the health insurance exchange enrollment figures for the first month of open enrollment, beginning Oct. 1; only 106,185 individuals have selected and enrolled in exchange plans.

Among those, 79,391 enrolled in 11 state-based exchanges with data available, and only 26,794 enrolled in federally run exchanges using

Approximately 850,000 applications were completed for the coverage of more than 1.5 million individuals through exchanges nationwide during the first month of open enrollment. Of those applicants, 1,082,000 were determined eligible to enroll in exchange plans, but only 326,000 were determined eligible for financial assistance. Additionally, 396,261 were determined eligible for Medicaid or CHIP. The full report is available here.

Given ongoing problems with, the initial exchange enrollment figures are expectedly low; the total first-month enrollment is only 1.5 percent of the 7 million enrollees the federal government estimates will enroll in 2014. Stronger numbers in state — rather than federally run — exchanges demonstrates how persistent IT problems have stymied enrollment.

However, according to Avalere analysis, when Medicare Part D began, two-thirds of individuals who voluntarily enrolled did so after coverage began on Jan. 1. One month prior to the Jan. 1 deadline for coverage, only 10 percent of voluntary Part D enrollees had signed up. As such, exchange enrollment is expected to pick up closer to the beginning of coverage and once the website is fully functional. These low enrollment numbers are likely to intensify calls for HHS to extend the open enrollment period. HHS will continue to release cumulative exchange enrollment data in monthly reports.

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