"There is no doubt the level of interest is strong. We expect enrollment will grow substantially throughout the next five months, mirroring the pattern that Massachusetts experienced," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said. "They’re also numbers that will grow as the website, HealthCare.gov, continues to make steady improvements.”
The numbers represent a fraction of the half-million sign-ups the Obama administration had initially projected, before HealthCare.gov's rocky rollout thwarted many shoppers’ attempts to purchase insurance. Budget forecasters previously projected that 7 million people would enroll in coverage during this year’s open enrollment period, which runs until March 31.
The Obama administration expects that as the technical issues get sorted out enrollment will increase.
"The numbers are affected by the Web site issues," a senior administration official said. "So it's no surprise they’re lower than projections."
The administration's sign-up account includes shoppers who have selected a plan through the online exchange. The federal government does not have data on who, among those people, has paid the first month's premium for January.
The federal government also counted a little more than 396,000 people who have been determined eligible for Medicaid, the public program for low-income Americans that the Affordable Care Act law expanded.
The full report is below.