The Campaign Spot

Break Out the Party Hats! Obamacare Enrollment Hits 2 Percent of Goal

California provides an update on their Obamacare signups:

Nearly 80,000 Californians have enrolled in private health insurance plans through the state’s exchange marketplace created under President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, the Covered California exchange said on Thursday.

The latest data, which charts enrollment from the Oct. 1 start through Nov. 19, means that about 20,000 more people signed up for plans since the exchange’s initial update on its enrollment released Nov. 13.

Sounds good, right? (Notice we’re discussing “enrolled,” not “purchased.”) Well, California health managers’ pre-launch projection was that by the end of March, “somewhere between 800,000 and 1.3 million Californians will have signed up for coverage through the marketplace.” So they’re at 6.1 percent on the high end of their goal, at 10 percent of their low-end goal, with 28 percent of the enrollment period passed.

EnrollMaven.com puts the total number of signups nationally at about 154,000, but that site doesn’t have the latest figure from California added; let’s assume it’s 174,000 or so. This means that nationally, we’re at about 2.4 percent of our goal of 7 million.

Say, what happens if the government doesn’t get those 7 million national signups they expected?

The insurance industry may be next in line to receive a hefty government bailout. That’s what could happen if signups for Obamacare fall short of expectations triggering an obscure provision in the Affordable Care Act that makes up any serious losses.

The potential price tag: millions of taxpayer dollars or more over a 3-year period.

So-called “risk corridors” were included in the 2010 health law to compensate insurance companies for major coverage losses in the event that far more older and sick people signed up for health plans than younger, healthy people and drove up their costs after they had set the premiums. If actual claims exceed projections by more than 3 percent under Obamacare, the government will compensate the industry for those losses.

If you thought Obamacare was unpopular before, wait until the term “multimillion dollar taxpayer bailout of health insurance companies” gets thrown around.

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