About 250,000 people enrolled in a healthcare plan using Obamacare’s federal and state online marketplaces, according to a government report released on Wednesday.
November’s numbers were more that double those for October, bringing the total number of enrolled Americans to about 365,000. Nearly 800,000 Americans have been deemed eligible for government healthcare through the program.
The numbers are a big improvement over October’s, but they still fall far short of the Obama administration’s initial expectations for the program. Originally, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that as many as 7 million Americans would enroll in the program for 2014. The numbers, of course, are nowhere near there yet, but officials say they’ll get better in time.
"We think we're on track and we'll reach the total that we thought," Mike Hash, health reform director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said.
"We're not exclusively focused on reaching a particular number," he continued. "What we're focused on is reaching the millions of people who are really looking for affordable healthcare coverage.”
The November numbers are encouraging for the Obama administration, but HealthCare.gov’s real test will be the number of users who register in December. After the website’s faulty rollout at the beginning of October, the Obama administration promised Americans that the site would be working correctly by Nov. 30. For the most part, Obama seems to have kept that promise.
So the big question is, now that HealthCare.gov is working at full capacity, will that actually result in more Americans enrolling in healthcare programs?
"We know that they were still having problems with the website in a good chunk of November. Reportedly the website issues are getting better and they are seeing large numbers of visitors coming back. But is it actually translating into enrollment?" Matthew Eyles, executive vice president at Avalere Health, told Reuters.
Early reports from December say that might be the case. According to insiders working with the federal healthcare site, about 29,000 people enrolled in a healthcare program between Dec. 1st and 2nd. If those numbers hold, December could see about half a million enrollees in the federal marketplace alone.