Five Million People Have Signed up For Obamacare, But How Many Are Actually Insured? 

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 17 2014 9:36 PM

With Two Weeks To Go, Obamacare is Two Million Short of Its Enrollment Goal 

476983485-president-barack-obama-speaks-with-televisions-hosts
President Barack Obama speaks with televisions hosts Enrique Acevedo (L) and Jose Diaz Balart during a town hall meeting on benefits of the Affordable Care Act for Latinos on March 6, 2014.

Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Another Obamacare press release, another milestone that falls short of original goals. The Department of Health and Human Services reported today that five million people have now signed up for insurance through the government exchanges. The administration had hoped to enroll seven million by the March 31 deadline. After the bungled rollout, that estimate was revised down to six million.

While total sign-ups still lag both targets, the pace is picking up slightly, as the administration had hoped would be the case in the final weeks and days of open enrollment. 800,000 people applied for coverage so far in March, compared to 1.1 million in all of February. The latest release does not report the ages of enrollees, information that has been closely watched by the administration and insurers. Of particular interest is the percentage of sign-ups who are between the ages of 18 and 34, a healthy demographic needed to keep costs down.

Many are quick to point out the headline enrollment numbers obscure the more meaningful data on how many plans have actually been purchased. According a New York Times analysis, as many as 20 percent of enrollees have not paid their first month’s premium, meaning they are not actually insured. The official number of those who have enrolled and completed their first payment has not yet been released.

TODAY IN SLATE

The World

How Canada’s Shooting Tragedies Have Shaped Its Gun Control Politics

Where Ebola Lives Between Outbreaks

Gunman Killed Inside Canadian Parliament; Soldier Shot at National Monument Dies

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Paul Farmer: Up to 90 Percent of Ebola Patients Should Survive

Is he right?

Science

“I’m Not a Scientist” Is No Excuse

Politicians brag about their ignorance while making ignorant decisions.

Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

In Praise of 13th Grade: Why a Fifth Year of High School Is a Great Idea 

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
  Business
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
  Life
Gentleman Scholar
Oct. 22 2014 5:54 PM May I Offer to Sharpen My Friends’ Knives? Or would that be rude?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 22 2014 10:39 PM Avengers: Age of Ultron Looks Like a Fun, Sprawling, and Extremely Satisfying Sequel
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.