10 Obamacare Facts You Need to Know After 2 Months

It might be hard to believe, but today marks the two-month anniversary of Obamacare's state and federally run health exchanges going live -- and what a two months it's been!

Some select state-run exchanges have performed well while others, including federally run Healthcare.gov, have become the talking point of every late-night comedy act. The dynamic of Obamacare, and even the health exchanges, seems to change on a week-to-week basis based on enrollment progress and how successful IT-technicians are at dealing with the multiple technical glitches.

With these ongoing changes in mind, here are the 10 Obamacare facts that really matter after two months.

1. The Healthcare.gov fix is on track.
We know there have been a seemingly insurmountable number of glitches with Healthcare.gov, but amazingly enough, the fixes that were intended to be completed by the end of November are "on track," according to government officials. If you recall, the government turned to the assistance of Red Hat and Oracle (NYSE: ORCL  ) , whose middleware prowess was to be used to determine why specific systems weren't cooperating with one another, as well as Google, whose ability to write and diagnose global code is practically unmatched. We haven't heard a lot from these companies or the government as to what was actually discovered to be wrong with Healthcare.gov, but it appears that a majority of Americans will be able to use it without major glitches sometime this week.

2. Delays are mounting.
Because it took two full months to fix Healthcare.gov and bring it online for the majority of residents in 36 states, multiple deadlines were pushed out, which are threatening the enforceability of the law itself. In July, the employer mandate start date was pushed back a full year to Jan. 1, 2015, arguably because the technology wasn't in place to accommodate business enrollment as well, although White House officials contended the move was being made to allow businesses extra time to comply with the law. More recently, the coverage cutoff date to receive health insurance coverage by Jan. 1, 2014, was bumped back eight days to Dec. 23 from Dec. 15, and the open enrollment period for next year was moved back by an entire month from Oct. 15 to Nov. 15 to give insurers more time to analyze and establish fair market rates. In sum, the more delays we see, the more Obamacare's credibility gets called into question.

3. Just 106,185 people fully enrolled within the first 33 days.
Official enrollment has been dismal thus far, with the Department of Health and Human Services reporting that a meager 106,185 people signed up for health insurance between Oct. 1 and Nov. 2. Worse yet, just 26,794 of those people signed up using Healthcare.gov despite officials reporting that 19 million people had visited the website since its launch. As of the latest tally, California, Washington, and New York were among the three state-run exchanges that were delivering the greatest success rate in terms of cumulative sign-ups.

4. 4.8 million health insurance policies could be cancelled.
Here's a stunning statistic: For each new enrollee in Obamacare (through Nov. 2), there are 48 people who will be receiving a notice of imminent insurance cancellation, according to Forbes. When lawmakers crafted Obamacare, it was designed to have a considerably more encompassing minimum benefits plan than any preceding minimum coverage policy. This meant that select lower-cost plans that Americans previously purchased (in this case nearly 5 million Americans) wouldn't meet the more stringent benefit mandate of Obamacare and would be cancelled. President Obama himself has suggested a temporary remedy to these cancellations by allowing insurers to keep members on what would otherwise be cancellable plans through 2014, but it has to be approved on a state-by-state basis.

5. Quality Software Services is ultimately in charge.
Americans would love to point the finger of blame or give praise to President Obama or either of the political parties throughout this process, but the only business worthy of criticism or praise from this point on is UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH  ) subsidiary, Quality Software Services, or QSSI. QSSI was put in charge of the oversight of Healthcare.gov in late October, and that move appear to be working well with the aforementioned website fixes remaining on schedule.

6. Verizon has been kicked to the curb.
Given the numerous glitches associated with Healthcare.gov, we knew that there was a strong possibility that a select number of contractors could be replaced. According to a Bloomberg report on Thursday, which was based on word from an unnamed HHS official, Verizon's (NYSE: VZ  ) Terremark data services hub is going to be replaced when its contract is up in March by Hewlett-Packard. Terremark's data services hub went offline twice in October, and in one of those instances it caused another critical Obamacare service to go offline as well. The lost contract won't be a huge blow to Verizon, but it does signal that unreliable contractors will no longer be tolerated.

7. Nearly 1 million people completed their initial application within the first 33 days.
Although the first two months represented something of a nightmare for many Americans, the HHS, and the White House, it wasn't all bad news. Even though just 106,185 people completed their enrollment, 975,407 Americans completed their application and identification process to determine their eligibility for subsidies such as Medicaid. In other words, nearly 1 million people went through the somewhat laborious identification process, but 89% did not select a plan as of yet. I wouldn't classify this as a failure so much as Americans who simply want to wait to the last minute to pay an insurance premium. Chances are high that the majority of these 975,000-plus people wouldn't go through this process if they didn't intend to eventually sign up.

8. Private exchange membership is soaring.
Just as we saw when we examined Obamacare last month, private exchanges for both individuals, families, and small businesses, such as eHealth (NASDAQ: EHTH  ) are cleaning up -- but so are private platform exchanges built for larger corporate clients like Aon (NYSE: AON  ) unit Aon Hewitt. With small businesses and employers unable to access Healthcare.gov until later in 2014, it's created the perfect scenario for individuals to bypass the headache of Healthcare.gov altogether by moving to eHealth's private platform and for businesses to cut health-care costs and time by providing a subsidy to employees and allowing them to search for their own health insurance on Aon Hewitt's corporate health exchange. With eHealth's membership up 24% in its most recent quarter and Aon securing 18 companies with 5,000 or more employees, I'd say private platform insurers are doing very well for themselves.

9. The majority of people think Obamacare's problems are fixable.
Last month, in spite of Obamacare's numerous glitches, sentiment toward Obamacare actually improved, according to an aggregated poll by The Huffington Post. While this month's poll from CNN/ORC International demonstrates that favorability toward the law remains relatively unchanged from the previous month, a majority of Americans polled -- 54%, to be exact -- believe that Obamacare's flaws are fixable, compared with just 45% who believe they aren't. In other words, even though just 40% in CNN's poll favored the new health-care law, a majority believes that Obamacare will be able to move forward as a law. 

10. The individual mandate still isn't going anywhere.
Finally, as a bit of a repeat from last month but a point that remains true after two months as well, the individual mandate, also known as the actionable part of Obamacare that requires individuals to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty come tax time, remains well intact without any fear of delay. Being the enforceable component of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, President Obama and HHS officials understand that this portion of the law must remain set in stone if Obamacare's credibility is to remain intact.

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Read/Post Comments (21) | Recommend This Article (8)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On December 01, 2013, at 2:42 PM, curmudgeon wrote:

    #1 threre sould have never been a "fix". How much did it cost THE TAXPAYERS to have a tech surger 24/7 for a month? WTF people wake up! The POTUS pride cost us aghain and again. Stop the madness, where do you think all this money is coming from. It ain't free. Hint: it's tax dollars!

    2. Delays are mounting. Isn't this what the stop in government was all about and now we get the delays anyway.

    Sorry got to go back to work....we all can't be Democrats.

  • Report this Comment On December 02, 2013, at 12:14 PM, sabebrush6 wrote:

    Why wasn't this obamacare program sent out for bids in the United States instead of just being handed to obama's personal friends out of the country that had probably the worse reputation in the world for quality programming ?

    Anybody ?

  • Report this Comment On December 02, 2013, at 12:21 PM, ModernEzra wrote:

    My personal belief is that a foreign company was chosen so that they would be immune to providing progress reports to Congress, specifically, House Republicans.

    Michelle Obama's college buddy works for them, as well as Valerie Jarrett's daughter and son-in-law. However, I don't know WHEN they started working there, the jobs could very well be pay-offs by the company in exchange for the design contract.

  • Report this Comment On December 02, 2013, at 12:26 PM, jeff2525 wrote:

    We the people do not need big brother to tell us how to live our lives. this affordable care act smacks of big brother. Hay Mr. Obama did you ever read 1984 by George Orwell or Animal farm also by George Orwell

  • Report this Comment On December 02, 2013, at 12:28 PM, jeff2525 wrote:

    Hey Mr. Obama we know you mean well,but but out

  • Report this Comment On December 02, 2013, at 12:31 PM, jeff2525 wrote:

    Mr. Obama do you really know what you are doing,I think NOT.

  • Report this Comment On December 02, 2013, at 12:31 PM, frank33354 wrote:

    dont you mean 10 lies we need to know?

  • Report this Comment On December 02, 2013, at 1:04 PM, texanne92 wrote:

    I was sorry to see that this article did not warn the consumer that healthcare.gov offers 0% security, This is an important fact that people need to know. When you go to healthcare.gov and throw down your name and social security number, it is open for the public to read.

  • Report this Comment On December 02, 2013, at 1:08 PM, Psychoderelict wrote:

    Now, for Ten Things you don't want to know. First, 4.8MM people have plans cancelled they like, and will now be paying $500/600/month for plans they don't want, with high deductibles, higher co-pays, and anywhere from $6-12K out of pocket expenses. 2nd, in Novemeber of 2014, after elections, 50MM people will find out what happens to them. 3rd, your doctor will be a Nurse Practicioner (see New Mexico)...too depressed to continue. Fool can finish it up.

  • Report this Comment On December 02, 2013, at 1:21 PM, Micheletaxpayer wrote:

    First of all, "Foolish Readers"?????? Really!!! That's what you think of the hardworking Americans who read your crap? Just remember, FOOL, that without the few Americans still working, there wouldn't be all of this money for this crap!!!! Whatever happened to people being responsible for themselves? I don't get any handouts! I have to work very hard for what I have, and I don't feel like sharing! How dare you call us "Foolish Readers"!!!!

  • Report this Comment On December 02, 2013, at 2:39 PM, My2Bits wrote:

    Let's make a few points even more clear:

    3. Just 106,185 people fully enrolled within the first 33 days.

    Per the HHS definition, this means people who placed a product in the shopping cart, but didn't check out. If you put a TV in your Amazon cart, but didn't check out, could Amazon consider that a sale, and report the in their quarterly report to investors? actual checkout numbers are closer to 26,000 at the time that number was reported.

    4. 4.8 million health insurance policies could be cancelled.

    Each policy represents approximately 2.2 people. That's over 10,000,000 people who have lost their health insurance.

    Ok, so lets see; that's an overall ration of 26,000:10,000,000. Or for every 384 persons who have lost insurance, one person has gained insurance. Please explain to me how this is beneficial to our country?!?!

  • Report this Comment On December 02, 2013, at 3:03 PM, Patriot1 wrote:

    Breakneck SPEED...where TF have you been author??? LOL..

  • Report this Comment On December 02, 2013, at 3:28 PM, DennisPurdy wrote:

    The author may want to better edit his or her work. There were several stupid writing errors.

    You might also want to deal with the 80 million people that will lose there employer paid healthcare, and the millions of workers who will lose their jobs or their hours cut so that the government can control one fifth of our economy.

  • Report this Comment On December 02, 2013, at 4:27 PM, Davidm7302 wrote:

    Obama is bad for our nation!!! God forgive him, the senate and the house for their participation in things that are an embarrassment to this once great nation.

    Oh, and as for Oh bama scare; Well that just needs to be abolished.

  • Report this Comment On December 02, 2013, at 5:29 PM, peterpiper wrote:

    Geez, people are really fools in my book. Obamacare is a start. For the past 50 years peoples tax dollars have been going out to support people that could not afford health care and others that could but went to hospitals, doctors, clinics, you name it and never had insurance, never paid their bill, used fraudulent information so they would never get a bill, used any system they could so when they had to get medical care, they didn't pay for it. With Obamacare, it's a start. Your tax dollars were already spent because people had no insurance. If people are forced to pay for health insurance, at least we save some tax dollars saved. You just don't see it, but we have always paid, one way or the other. Let's make it fair in my book, if you can afford it (even though you may think you can't cause you overspend), you have to get it.

  • Report this Comment On December 02, 2013, at 6:45 PM, erniemink wrote:

    Peter Piper and to all those who seem to STILL have no clue amidst all the overwhelming evidence on why ObamaCare and Obama is BAD for this country. He needs to seriously be impeached. There is nothing good to fix because most people never wanted this, and they never agreed to it. And many more are waking up to these facts! I have studied in detail the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). I speak neither Republican or Democrat. MILLIONS have LOST their insurance. Obama was CAUGHT RED-HANDED many times in lies and corruption, and not just with health insurance, but in illegal and unwarranted spying, murder of innocent people, and that includes drones, Benzhai, and the list goes on. He already has federal indictments against him that are not even being publicized. Unless they repeal Obamacare, I am sorry friends, but things will NEVER get fixed. We should have never had it to begin with. Obama KNEW years before this was the intent of what is going on now, and was EXPOSED outright for it. People need to quit selling out and start waking up.

  • Report this Comment On December 02, 2013, at 7:40 PM, Chitroiter wrote:

    McCain asked the right question in his campaign and no one paid attention, now we will all end up paying.....do u really think we should turn the country over to a Chicago politician.

  • Report this Comment On December 02, 2013, at 7:57 PM, nolesnrays wrote:

    Obama's TOTAL qualification when he was elected: he gave a good speech at the Democratic National Convention. That's it. In the meantime, our country elects Obama and passes on Romney...Romney had been a CEO of a very successful company, had been the Governor of a heavily Democratic state and had saved the Olympics when all indications were we (the US) would fail with putting them on. And...by the way...he gave his salaries for governor and the Olympics to charities. Yet...the majority of our people with the support of the mainstream media select Obama. What in the world did anyone expect? This guy is clueless, a confirmed liar and extremely ignorant in matters of governance, management and accountability. We (the US citizens) got we wanted. Remember, the first thing he was going to do was shut down Guantanamo. He started as a failure, continues as a failure and his legacy will be that of a complete failure. Wait until the Cadillac tax goes into affect re: Obamacare. If u think there are problems today...just wait. We deserve more as a country...unfortunately our populace is ignorant and will continue to select those politicians who promise to guarantee more and more entitlements.

  • Report this Comment On December 03, 2013, at 12:14 AM, lionfour wrote:

    They say try non peak hours so I did and find out

    the Peoples' Republic of Maryland site is shut down from 11pm until 5am LOL.

    "That's some catch, that catch 22!"

  • Report this Comment On December 03, 2013, at 7:26 AM, chipmurfee wrote:

    I cant work 1 full time job now....thanks...I have to go find a 2nd job now to get full time hours. Somehow I now have to balance schedules with 2 different employers, multiple managers, etc etc. Thanks for making my life more difficult.

    DONT BELIEVE ANY THING THAT COMES FROM THE NEWS OR GOVERNMENT that says this is a good thing, or any lies that people are benefitting from this.

    HOW MUCH did VERIZON make, and why do you exempt yourself from this benefit federal employees.....

    LAST....IF IT IS SUCH A POSITIVE BENEFIT,,,,

    why is there a FINE......FINES are supposed to force people to avoid bad behavior!!!!!! so ACA much be a bad thing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Report this Comment On December 03, 2013, at 1:40 PM, NumbersDontLie wrote:

    ...And with that article I am done with the Motley Fool. Nice work Sean Williams.

    Apolitical investment commentary that help readers dissociate their own emotions from market opportunities don't exist on this site anymore. They've sold out.

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