Three things we learned from today’s Obamacare update

December 3, 2013

Every day, usually about 2 p.m. or so, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services hosts a half-hour-long call on the status of the insurance marketplace. Now, every day, we here at Wonkblog will update you on what the federal government told us about how Obamacare is going. Without further ado, here is what we learned today!

 There were 1 million visitors to HealthCare.gov Monday. And there have been 380,000 visitors to HealthCare.gov as of noon today. This is slightly higher traffic than Monday, when 375,000 visitors came to the Web site by noon.

"We know that consumers are actively shopping and enrolling in coverage every day," Medicare spokeswoman Julie Bataille said. "We believe there's an indication that these will grow over time."

Approximately 13,000 shoppers Monday ended up in the queuing system. The system began queuing, as we learned Monday, when there were 30,000-some visitors on the Web site. All had the option to drop in their e-mail address and get a note from HealthCare.gov about when would be a good time to return.

"All were invited to come back on the next day," Bataille said. "Sixty percent who received an e-mail did return to the Web site. We had high levels of engagement."

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services plans to pro-actively implement the queuing system this afternoon, given that traffic on the site tends to spike when the president speaks about the health-care law.

Still no 834 error rate. This was a question that came up a few times Monday, and again today when CNBC's Dan Magnan brought it up.

"We know there are different types of errors," Bataille said. "We have information on the specific bugs. The statistic I don’t have [is] in terms of overall error rate. We're making a lot of progress to punch out the issues we have diagnosed working with issuers."

When asked about the Washington Post's report this morning that approximately one-third of the 834s sent so far had errors, Bataille replied, "I can tell you that does not reflect an accurate picture of what is happening right now...we've made tremendous progress and will certainly work to fix any standing issues."

Bataille said that her agency is looking at both the issues with 834s that have occurred in the past, and also those that are happening now, to get a sense of whether the fixes they are implementing are working. CMS has a "team of experts working with issuers and working with officials from CMS so we are having regular daily conversations in order to identify any additional issues in the system, make sure those issues we've made improvements to are working," she said.

 

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Brad Plumer | December 3, 2013