chart on curiosity about Obamacare chart on curiosity about Obamacare

Are you enrolled in Obamacare?

You might be and not even know it, given the rather novel approach the government is taking to determine just how many folks have enrolled in the new plans under the new Affordable Care Act, the official name for Obamacare, the law that set up new health care exchanges.

Traditionally, health insurance companies consider only those people who have paid premiums to be enrolled. However the federal governemnt is counting as "enrolled" any people who have selected a plan and placed it in an online shopping cart for later review, but who have not paid any premiums or officially selected a plan.

According to an unamed Obama Administration official quoted by the Wahsington Post late Monday, "“In the data that will be released this week, ‘enrollment’ will measure people who have filled out an application and selected a qualified health plan in the marketplace.”

The Post noted that the website only allows one plan to be placed in the online shopping cart, suggesting perhaps that the government is assuming that having weeded out all the other options, consumers had picked a final plan and were likely to enroll in that plan, since they bothered to pick it among several on offer before placing it in their carts.

The Post also pointed out that actual premiums are collected by the private insurers, and once the consumer has placed a plan in the online shopping cart, the government-consumer engagement is finished.

Also on Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing anonymous sources as well, that private health insurers have gotten about 50,000 enrollments through the website, well short of the half million enrollments predicted by the Obama administration.