The Utter Disaster Of

Robert Laszewski explains what the insurers are experiencing:

The insurance industry is literally receiving a handful of new enrollments from the 36 Obama administration-run exchanges. It’s really 20 or 30 or 40 each day through last week. And a good share of those enrollments are problematic. One insurance company told me, “we got an enrollment from John Doe. Then five minutes later we got a message from CMS disenrolling him. Then we got another message re-enrolling him.” On and on, up to 10 times. So insurers aren’t really sure if the enrollments they’ve got are enrollments they should have.

The administration had planned on 500,000 sign-ups in October. But Garance digs into the dismal rate of enrollment:

[It] so far is low enough that if you extrapolate it out it, the health-insurance exchanges would see only 2.76 million people enrolled at the end of the six month open-enrollment period. That number falls well short of the 7 million the administration has announced as its first-year enrollment goal and reflects the lack of enrollment reported through the federally-run exchanges, which cover 34 states, as well as troubles at the state exchanges.

That’s right: Even as the disaster of has gotten a fair bit of attention, it turns out that a substantial fraction of the state-run exchanges also have been plagued by moderate to severe technical issues that have hampered enrollment. The verdict from trade publication MedCity News after the first day of state exchange enrollment was that six of the 16 state exchanges were failing. Two weeks after launch, several of the exchanges—including the ones serving Oregon, Vermont and Hawaii—remain hamstrung by technical problems, according to news coverage in the states.

Of course it didn’t have to be this way:

[I]n the small alternate universe of states where enrollment has not been thwarted by technical issues at the state or federal level, the data suggests what must be a welcome proof of concept for the exchanges. The demand is there and people are completing applications through the marketplaces at a solid clip where it’s possible for them to do so.

Straining to see a silver lining, Sarah Kliff finds some evidence of progress on the site.