Even After The Recent Spike, Healthcare.gov Is Enrolling People At About 38% Of The Pace It Needs To

Politico is reporting an “enrollment surge” on Healthcare.gov. According to “an official familiar with the program,” the website enrolled 29,000 people in private health insurance plans on Sunday and Monday, the first two days of December.

That’s more people than enrolled in the entire month of October. And by my back-of-the envelope maths, it means Healthcare.gov is now enrolling people at 38% of the pace needed to reach the administration’s goal of 7 million signups by March 31.

That’s not fast enough, but it’s a marked improvement over the last two months (October’s enrollment pace was 3% of what’s necessary) and it’s reason to hope that further improvements will be enough to prevent problems of low enrollment.

Here’s my maths. Healthcare.gov serves residents of 36 states that do not run their own exchange websites, which contain about 2/3 of the country’s population. So, it should account for about 4.7 million signups if the target is to be reached. That’s 4.55 million more people than had already signed up through December 2, according to reported and rumoured numbers.

As of yesterday, there were 120 “shopping” days left through March 31, meaning we would need 38,000 signups a day to meet the goal. A pace of 14,500 per day is 38% of the way to that level.

Basically, the signup pace has risen 12-fold since October. It needs to rise again by 1.5 fold and we’ll be on pace to hit the signup target.

It would also be good to know more about the composition of the enrollees — are they older and in worse health than insurers were expecting? — but this is a positive sign.

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