News / USA

Over 2.1 Million Reportedly Sign Up for Obamacare

FILE - A man looks over the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) signup page on the HealthCare.gov website.
FILE - A man looks over the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) signup page on the HealthCare.gov website.
Reuters
More than 2.1 million people have enrolled in private health insurance plans through new federal and state websites since they were launched in October as part of President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.
 
While short of the 3.3 million enrollees that the Obama administration was hoping for by now, the number signing up for insurance is a dramatic improvement from the early weeks of the program, when barely 150,000 got coverage because of a series of technical problems with the federal website HealthCare.gov.
 
Sign-ups for what has become known as Obamacare gained pace during December as the website's performance improved, and as more Americans focused on getting coverage by the new year.
 
Many of the newly insured under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act enrolled just ahead of a Dec. 24 deadline to receive benefits on Jan. 1, giving health insurers a tight framework to create accounts that can be accessed by doctors.
 
About half the 2.1 million signed up for private health insurance on the federal website, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told reporters in a conference call. HealthCare.gov covers 36 states; another 14 states and the District of Columbia have their own healthcare websites.
 
Sebelius said that in October and November, another 3.9 million Americans were determined eligible for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program, although this included some renewals. Both are government-run programs serving low-income people.
 
HealthCare.gov crashed soon after its launch on Oct. 1, as millions of visitors accessed the site, and remained balky for much of the ensuing weeks.
 
The disastrous rollout disappointed those who were trying to enroll in subsidized health insurance, and damaged the credibility of President Obama and his signature domestic policy achievement. Two officials have left the U.S. agency that was in charge of launching the website.
 
Administration officials hope they have turned a corner toward a better-working program that makes it possible for millions of Americans to get health insurance who did not have it before. People can still sign up until March 31 for coverage in 2014.
 
But the new year is expected to bring new challenges as many Americans begin to use their medical coverage for the first time. U.S. officials have said that some errors occurred with the transmission of enrollment data to insurers, especially early in the enrollment period.
 
“January 1st marks not only the beginning of a New Year, but an exciting new day in health care as millions of Americans will now be able to access care, thanks to the coverage they found at the Health Insurance Marketplace,” Sebelius said in a blog posting on Tuesday.
 
“For many of the newly insured ... it will be the first time that they can enjoy the security that comes with health coverage,” Sebelius said. She said the administration was doing everything possible to help with the transition period.

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs