The evidence we have so far — albeit limited — suggests that lots of Obamacare shoppers made it in just under the wire.
California estimates that 27,000 people picked insurance plans this past Monday and 29,000 the Friday prior. Just last week, the state was averaging 15,000 sign-ups per day. Washington state had 10,000 people enroll Monday, and a total of 20,000 from Dec. 20-23. That accounts for one in 10 Washingtonians picking private health insurance plans. And New York had about 20,000 sign-ups come in that same day.
Of course, these are only the three states we know about. The 36 states on HealthCare.gov do not release data on their own schedule but rather rely on the federal government's monthly data sets. We won't know December enrollment numbers until sometime in the middle of January
Charles Gaba has been going to painstaking efforts to show the trajectory of health law sign-ups over the past three months. His graph (which is better viewed here, on his Web site) gives a helpful visual sense of what the last month has looked like for health-care enrollment. This uses all available data, including the monthly, federal reports and more up-to-date state data, too.
By Gaba's count, we're at 5.75 million sign-ups, between those who have enrolled in private plans and those who have qualified for the Medicaid program. The balance still tips toward public plan enrollments, but, as the chart cautions, this is still preliminary data. If we do see a similar December enrollment spike among the federally run state markets, that will be a pretty quick turn-around from October's dismal showing. If not, though, that's going to make the next three months of open enrollment, which runs until March 31, all the more crucial.