SLUGGISH START: Only 26,794 Signed Up For Federal Obamacare Plan - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

SLUGGISH START: Only 26,794 Signed Up For Federal Obamacare Plans, Officials Say

Posted: Updated:

NBCNEWS.COM - Only 26,000 people managed to buy health insurance on Healthcare.gov in October, the first month the website was open, the Health and Human Services Department said Wednesday.

But more than 106,000 have made it through the process on both the state and federal websites, and most just have a few steps more to make the final purchase, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says. And as many as half a million look like they will have either private health insurance or new Medicaid coverage in 2014.

The federal government has been playing down expectations for how many people will have signed up so far, but the numbers released on Wednesday. The long-awaited figures show that 26,794 people bought health insurance on the federal website, covering 36 states. Another 79,391 bought policies on state-run websites.

"Enrollment includes those who have selected a plan who either have or have not yet paid the first month's premium," HHS said.

HealthCare.gov, the centerpiece of health reform efforts under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, fell apart as soon as it went live on Oct. 1. It's supposed to be a seamless, online system to allow people to comparison shop for health insurance policies, checking right away to see if they qualify for a generous federal government subsidy to buy a plan.

Several different approved government contractors put together parts of the system and when it went online, the parts didn't work together. The result: Hardly anyone managed to sign up, critics said "I told you so" and Congress has launched several investigations into what went wrong.

The administration has agreed over and over that the site is unacceptably flawed. Asked whether it would be working as promised on November 30, White House Chief Technology Officer Todd Park said not to expect a flawless performance. "The goal that has been laid out is not for the site to be perfect by Nov. 30," Park told a House Oversight Committee hearing earlier on Wednesday. . It should, however, work smoothly for the "vast majority" of users.

HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • Clarkson calls for change at Billboard Awards

    Clarkson calls for change at Billboard Awards

    Sunday, May 20 2018 8:49 PM EDT2018-05-21 00:49:33 GMT

    Kelly Clarkson tearfully called for a moment of change, instead of a moment of silence for the victims of a school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, at the opening of the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas.    The awards show host, who is from Texas, said as she held back tears that moments of silence are not working, but "why don't we change what's happening"

    More >>

    Kelly Clarkson tearfully called for a moment of change, instead of a moment of silence for the victims of a school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, at the opening of the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas.    The awards show host, who is from Texas, said as she held back tears that moments of silence are not working, but "why don't we change what's happening"

    More >>
  • Cougar that attacked cyclists was underweight

    Cougar that attacked cyclists was underweight

    Sunday, May 20 2018 8:26 PM EDT2018-05-21 00:26:16 GMT

    NORTH BEND, Wash. (AP) - Authorities say the cougar that attacked two cyclists east of Seattle, killing one of them, appears to have been emaciated. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Police Capt. Alan Myers said Sunday that the cougar was about 100 pounds (45 kilograms), when a typical 3-year-old male in the area would be 140 to 180 pounds (63 to 81 kilograms). A necropsy will try to determine why the animal was underweight.

    More >>

    NORTH BEND, Wash. (AP) - Authorities say the cougar that attacked two cyclists east of Seattle, killing one of them, appears to have been emaciated. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Police Capt. Alan Myers said Sunday that the cougar was about 100 pounds (45 kilograms), when a typical 3-year-old male in the area would be 140 to 180 pounds (63 to 81 kilograms). A necropsy will try to determine why the animal was underweight.

    More >>
  • $90M worth of liquid meth found in semi-truck's fuel tank in North Carolina

    $90M worth of liquid meth found in semi-truck's fuel tank in North Carolina

    Sunday, May 20 2018 7:58 PM EDT2018-05-20 23:58:46 GMT

    LINDEN, N.C. - Investigators seized a semi truck on Saturday that had $90.8 million worth of liquid methamphetamine in the driver's side fuel tank. The truck was being handled by 49-year-old Raul Topete Arreola and 48-year-old Aquileo Perez Pineda. Both men have been charged with three counts of trafficking meth.

    More >>

    LINDEN, N.C. - Investigators seized a semi truck on Saturday that had $90.8 million worth of liquid methamphetamine in the driver's side fuel tank. The truck was being handled by 49-year-old Raul Topete Arreola and 48-year-old Aquileo Perez Pineda. Both men have been charged with three counts of trafficking meth.

    More >>