The Latest Obamacare Figures Are In. Is It Time to Panic Yet?

Putting it mildly, it's been an ugly beginning for Obamacare's health exchanges.

In hindsight, the website was pretty much doomed from the get-go because of inadequate time to test the complex cloud-based IT-architecture behind the federally run health exchange, Healthcare.gov, and the fact that more than four dozen contractors contributed to the build-out of the network behind Healthcare.gov. Amazingly enough, though, things are beginning to improve.

Taking things step-by-step
In late October, Healthcare.gov spokesperson, Jeffrey Zients, set a November month-end goal as to when its "tech surge" would have diagnosed and completed fixes to the federally run website to make it usable for a majority of Americans in the 36 states that it serves. Believe it or not, following a number of critical delays, including pushing the implementation of the employer mandate out a full year, Zients' promise was met, and the new-and-improved Healthcare.gov relaunched with significantly fewer problems and glitches earlier this month. This isn't to say everything is now perfect, but the system is night-and-day better compared to two months prior.

Now the focus for Americans and investors has turned back to the actual enrollment figures themselves. Initial enrollment through the first 33 days was nothing short of abysmal, with only 106,185 people fully enrolling for health insurance. Would month two, which offered minimally better federal and state-run health exchange access, fare any better?

The latest Obamacare skinny
Yesterday the Department of Health and Human Services released the results of total Obamacare enrollments for the month of November, and they were both deceptively terrible and fantastic, all at the same time!

For the month of November, full health exchange enrollments increased by 258,497, reaching 364,682 people in the first two months. This represents a 243% jump over last month's full enrollment numbers. State-run health exchanges continued to lead the charge with 227,478 signups (62.4% of all enrollees), while the number of federal signups jumped by more than 100,000 to 137,204. California's state-run exchange currently leads all states with 107,000 enrollees, while Oregon's dysfunctional exchange pulled up the caboose with a mere 44 enrollees. Florida was the state with the highest number of enrollees on the federal side with just shy of 18,000 enrollees.

After reviewing this pool of statistics you're probably thinking to yourself, "Just 364,682 signups in two months? This is going to fail!" I'll certainly give that thought process some merit, because at this pace we're going to fall well short of the 7 million signups that the HHS has been targeting. Furthermore, we can only suspect that adverse selection is likely causing the sickest and most in-need-of-care people to sign up first. In other words, if we don't see a big boost in young adults signing up for Obamacare, then insurers are going to lose out because of higher medical expenses than the premiums they're bringing in, and premiums are going to rise for everyone.


The new-and-improved Healthcare.gov. Source: Healthcare.gov.

A ray of hope
But before you starting running through the streets proclaiming Obamacare's end of days, consider this: the number of enrollees that have completed the identification and application process but have not selected a plan increased by nearly another 1 million in November and now sit at more than 1.9 million! Think of these people in this context: They have completed the grueling and arduous part of the health insurance process; now all they need to do is select a plan and pay for their insurance.

Should you really be concerned that there are 1.9 million people sitting on their hands? Not really, especially considering that we have roughly four months to go before the coverage cutoff date. Let me ask you this, how many of you look forward to paying your taxes four months in advance when you owe money? Probably not too many of you, and the same applies here. As much as the currently uninsured might crave health insurance coverage, the ultimate objection is that it's a bill they're not used to paying, and they're probably going to wait until the last couple of weeks to fully sign up.

As proof, I'll again turn to the Massachusetts health reform law, which attracted just 6% of total enrollees within the first two months. Admittedly, this plan offered enrollees 11 months to sign up, whereas Obamacare's cutoff allows for approximately six-months of signups -- but all things considered, we appear to be right on schedule. If you take into account that a vast majority of those people who've completed the application process are likely to sign up at some point, and add that total to the nearly 365,000 that have already signed up, you tentatively have around 2 million people. Considering that signups are expected to be back-loaded, Obamacare's health exchanges really aren't doing as bad as the numbers on the surface would indicate.

These five companies are sitting pretty after this data
If I were looking at this from an investable perspective, I would be feeling pretty confident if I were a shareholder in private platform marketplaces such as eHealth (NASDAQ: EHTH  ) , Aon (NYSE: AON  ) , or Xerox (NYSE: XRX  ) . eHealth, which has operated an established private platform similar to Healthcare.gov for years and has no worries about website functionality, has seen its membership soar past 1.1 million as frustrated consumers look for ways around the federally run option.

Also, many businesses are realizing that it's less time consuming and costs less if they simply give their employees or retirees a subsidy and let them shop for health insurance on their own. That's where Aon and Xerox have come in and snagged some fairly sizable corporate clientele. As long as fears about technical glitches and distrust toward the Obamacare website exist, these three stocks could be metaphorical gold for investors.

I'd also be encouraged if I were a WellPoint (NYSE: WLP  ) or Centene (NYSE: CNC  ) shareholder. On the one hand this is a bit of a catch-22, in that weak full enrollments should be a disappointment, not a positive, for these companies -- and that's partially true.

However, companies which are focused on government-sponsored enrollees, such as WellPoint, which purchased AmeriGroup for $4.5 billion last year to become the nation's largest Medicaid-based insurer, and Centene, which prides itself on low-income and Medicaid-based members, should be thrilled with the news HHS data. As of the end of November, 803,077 members were determined to be eligible for Medicaid CHIP assistance by the health insurance marketplace. This figure is up by 406,816 from the previous month, or 103% overall. We really wouldn't expect insurers to struggle to sign up people who qualify for subsidized health insurance, but it's nice to see the data translating into what I suspect will be positive results for these two insurers.

Still confused how Obamacare will affect you? Let us help!
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  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 2:29 PM, hc5760 wrote:

    5 million canceled , and 1and a half million ready to sign up. You think the numbers add up. It don't look good to me. This is hard for anyone to spin!

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 2:34 PM, JPRingo wrote:

    Keep building that tower of hope and change, Obamacare has killed itself.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 2:36 PM, tonydari wrote:

    "Think of these people in this context: They have completed the grueling and arduous part of the health insurance process; now all they need to do is select a plan and pay for their insurance."

    Select a plan AND pay for it too? Is that really going to happen? And the un/under employed who can't afford any of these plans? What happens next? Worst law ever passed.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 2:36 PM, JackMack55 wrote:

    What an unbiased article! I love how it starts out blaming the doom of the website on the fact that they had little time to test it. They had 3 years and numerous documented warnings. The arrogance of this dictatorship did not care. Get some real writers and get rid of the apologists.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 2:40 PM, silverdragon8448 wrote:

    80% are Medicaid so that means that the other 20% are paying for the 80%. It is affordable for the 80% but what about the 20%?

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 2:42 PM, johnestromjr wrote:

    Americans are STILL left with a stupid system with the federal government running our lives. At a HUGE cost to taxpayers. ALL because Democrats want MORE control over OUR lives and want you to believe they really care about you. BULL. They only care about controlling your life - NOT making it better

    Why can't we buy health insurance across state lines? Because the Democrats don't want you to. It creates mini-monopolies or oligopolies in every state and NO competition. What lunacy - it's a federal CRIME for an insurance provider to sell insurance across state lines. THAT is this bull crap ObamaCare. It's ALL about power over you.

    Next November you can let Obama and the Democrats [AND liberal Republicans aka RINO's] what you think of their stupidity.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 2:46 PM, SaintJoseph wrote:

    Yes!

    Obamacare is a disastrous failure, for sure.

    Current estimated cost

    IS NOTHING BUT AN ESTIMATE!!!

    Name me 5 programs where

    Obama delivered on target,

    on budget, and on schedule!!!

    We must agree that

    Obama is at the top of

    Obama's game

    as a Spin Doctor.

    Only if we can take Obama's hot air

    to the bank!!!???

    QED.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 2:48 PM, milt3726 wrote:

    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke)

    Make sure you do something, tell your friends, family and neighbors to Vote every democrat out of office who voted for this stain on America!

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 2:48 PM, SaintJoseph wrote:

    Hi Folks,

    Before it's said and done,

    Obamacare will end up costing Americans

    at least twice of current estimate!

    QED.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 2:49 PM, TA67 wrote:

    Please don't forget...What ever the gap is between.....actual plans paid for and what is needed to substain it will be paid by tax payers...BAILOUT.

    How do you think they got the ins. companies on board with this in the first place.....guaranteed money.........Merry Christmas Lemmings

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 2:50 PM, tbarbar90 wrote:

    "Think of these people in this context: They have completed the grueling and arduous part of the health insurance process; now all they need to do is select a plan and pay for their insurance."

    Another way to look at it is that these people finally got a look at the plans, costs, and doctors after entering all their information and decided they DID NOT WISH TO ENROLL!! This is especially true since people had to enter all their information BEFORE they could shop. This would be especially BAD NEWS for Obamacare; especially if it is the healthy that are turning their nose at these policies.

    I know that when I go thru the trouble of filling all of it out, I usually enroll immediately; especially if I think my information could get erased or screwed up (given the websites troubles, would this surprise anyone?).

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 2:54 PM, kevin1977 wrote:

    It is Economics 101 - The uninsured do not value health insurance, the demand just isn't there.

    I guess it is good enough for government work.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 2:56 PM, djm20 wrote:

    Wonder what kind of 'influence' it takes for the Obama Administration to generate supportive articles like this. BHO's public relations machine is working 24/7 to spin positive messages on this abomination of a law. You'd think a financial advising entity such as Motley Fool would have some independent thinking when it comes to the federal government taking over 1/6th of the US economy and instituting rationing and a system of taxes that will destroy people's access to decent health care and further weaken the US economy. Motley Fool apparently has joined the bandwagon like AARP and other so called 'experts.' We as citizens only have ourselves to blame for re-electing this turkey.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 2:57 PM, jqpublic49 wrote:

    @johnestromjr: "Why can't we buy health insurance across state lines?"

    Um, you can. It's up to each individual states to decide whether or not to let out of state insurance companies sell to their residents. It has absolutely NOTHING to do with the Federal Government, but entirely to do with states rights.

    Don't believe me? Georgia, Wyoming and Maine _ALL_ allow out of state insurance companies to sell health insurance policies to their residents. And they've allowed it since 2011.

    The problem is that no out of state insurance company has bothered to sell policies to those states.

    So the whole notion that the Federal government won't let insurance companies sell across states lines is wrong. The notion that selling insurance across states line will save money is wrong. The notion that Democrats are somehow behind it is wrong.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 3:04 PM, Ronmc2 wrote:

    "This represents a 243% jump over last month"

    Liberal Fact, aka Fun with Statistics.

    What's next, a chart showing that out of a 100, 25 lost their insurance for a 25% loss, but then 20 signed up for ObamaCare for a 27% gain in Insured. So Less is More! And the wonders of Liberal Math & Statistics continue.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 3:05 PM, OldVet72 wrote:

    I'm one of those 1.9 million who went through the process up to but not including making the purchase as that was the only way to compare what I am paying now per month through my group plan (which will be considered a "Cadillac" plan in 2018) and what I will pay when my company drops us. It ain't pretty. For nearly comparable coverage, my premium will increase from $5000 per year to $23,000 per year, at least. If the young and healthy delay their enrollments till the fines and penalties start to add up to anything significant, I can envision $30K per year for a premium. Deductibles triple, max out of pocket doubles, no telling what doctors we will be able to see or what prescriptions will cost. My wife and I will be faced with a choice. I work till I die and eat up all my savings to keep her alive or she receives a signed death warrant from Barack Obama.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 3:07 PM, OldVet72 wrote:

    And is Motley Fool going to start selling insurance? The way they are poo-pooing the inevitable crash, it would seem so.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 3:09 PM, allballfan wrote:

    Is it time to panic yet? .... It was time to panic when the POS was elected the first time and the idiot sheeple have not learned anything yet!! People enrolling or going to the website and filling out the info does not mean a single person has actually signed up for Nobamacare. They are not recipients of the insurance until they pay their first premium. Most people are going there to find out the rates are astronomical.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 3:09 PM, Shamroq wrote:

    "Now all they need to do is select a plan and pay for their insurance"......Do you realize there is no way to pay for a policy yet? It has not been built! You will have no insurance unless you have a payment received! From an IT perspective this is not a complicated Cloud architecture project. It's actually fairly simple as all it does so far is automate paperwork. Blobamacare is a dud, just like everything else he has done. Where is our Hope and Change now? What a terrible strategy that millions bought into.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 3:15 PM, tatsoon wrote:

    The enrollment figures are for people who have signed up, BUT NOT PAID. You cannot make a payment through the website due to technical difficulties. In other words, they do not have any insurance coverage, although they think they do. Sad.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 3:15 PM, bobdudley wrote:

    It was time to panic when the democrats passed this monster in the middle of the night. Now it is time to act!

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 3:22 PM, michaelmar wrote:

    Millions of people look at items on websites and never buy, so how this is a measure of success i don't know. Many .com websites that seemed like a good idea became worth millions because of web site "hits", but never became a real business because no one actually bought there, or there was no way to make a profit on those who did. There is no sale until the money is paid and accepted by the vendor. How many looked and didn't like what they saw and will never come back? no oe knows or wants to find out...of course the administration only points to hits, because it has to to try and put a good face on this. How many that did enroll are the ones with pre-existing conditions? And young people that are used to shopping and finding the best VALUE realize there is no value to them in Obamacare, and with the security and website problems do not trust it.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 3:23 PM, whereisbigboy wrote:

    Has the author of this story ever used the internet. When I go to a website that has a product with a "price only available in shopping cart", I have to go through the arduous task of completing a transaction in order to see the price. THIS IS NOT A SALE! And I imagine it only results in a few percent who ever actually buy the product, as I have done this hundreds of times only bought a few items.

    Obamacare makes you complete the application process before they show you the price, resulting in a lot of shopping carts with no real actual sales.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 3:26 PM, GoPro wrote:

    I agree that the execution was poorly done, however the need to offer decent health care to all Americans is a laudable goal. Unless, we are ready to deny medical service to the uninsured when they can’t pay, then it makes sense to require that all Americans carry insurance. By the way, the largest cause of bankruptcies in the US is due to medical bills and many of those individuals going bankrupt have health insurance.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 3:28 PM, jcvette50 wrote:

    Oh don't worry everyone - Adam Levigne and the rest of Hollywood will be helping and telling people they should sign up......get real! like this is gonna make people pay up the "ying yang" for something they don't want just because Adam Levigne, Cher and Elton John say it's the cool thing to do - yeah with their money it is so why don't you all sign up and save the President from his own disaster...save the world Hollywood.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 3:36 PM, Barbgal wrote:

    I have 4 adult children, ranging in age from the youngest 21 to oldest 34. Believe it or not, they all work,and their jobs offer then health insurance. The young who work get the healthcare from their jobs.So why would they sign up for Gov. healthcare?

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 3:40 PM, craighuber50 wrote:

    SPIN FREE ?!?! what a joke.

    Obama had plenty of time to develop the website. I am a software developer with lots of experience in federal government systems. Would of helped if he did not do no-bid contracts to his friends. The money spend is just plain shameful.

    Maybe they should have kept the system simplier and actually had someone testing as they developed.

    Or, maybe they should just cancel Obamacare and do something that would really work. If you want to cover the poor, write a bill and tell us how much its going to cost. Just like the childrens program that is already operational.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 3:59 PM, TXObjectivist75 wrote:

    You neglected to mention the "enrolled" number includes people who have placed a plan in a cart, but not completed the process, and includes duplicate enrollments. Plus they don't release the number of actual paid plans. Plus the failure rates of the 834 data transactions are up to 75% at some insurers. The data interchange nightmare will only get worse when the web site can start processing more enrollments. I'd say it looks worse now than it did in Oct.

    And most people's insurance rolls over at the beginning of each year, so most of the 5 million cancellations take effect Jan 1, which means you've got about 9-12 days left to get signed up. I don't believe procrastination is the issue.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 4:03 PM, Deedee wrote:

    This Affordable Care Act is not affordable. All it will accomplish is to destroy the middle class (what's left of it) and cost us thousands of dollars in taxes and penalties. Most PCP's will not accept the A.C.A, they won't take on new patients who are a part of it. The elderly will suffer more hardships. The young are not going to pay those premiums with the out of pocket costs as high as they are. The government should have left our health care system alone. This dictator should be impeached for treason against Americans. This is window dressing, people may be looking but they aren't buying.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 4:04 PM, TXObjectivist75 wrote:

    I bet Amazon wants to use the healthcare.gov metrics too. Imagine what their revenue would be if they could count all the stuff people leave sitting in their shopping carts as "sales"!

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 4:04 PM, sm5574 wrote:

    "now all they need to do is select a plan and pay for their insurance" ... Unless the reason they haven't done so is that they can't find a plan they can afford.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 4:05 PM, Chicago7171 wrote:

    This makes me wonder about the validity of other Motley Fool articles. This optimistic review of the ACA numbers is disturbingly naive. Now that I have had time to "see what's inside", I are appalled.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 4:08 PM, saxetman1 wrote:

    Or, just maybe, you have 1.9M people sitting there contemplating the either/or scenario...do I either take the penalty and pay $95 and save myself some money or, do I bite the bullet and get a health care plan that will probably cause me to spend less as a consumer? Yeah, I'll go with the penalty.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 4:11 PM, tennisdude4040 wrote:

    I'm an engineer that does government contracts. The advantage of sole source contracts is the time that is saved to get them started. It also cost less when there is 1 bidder. Keep in mind, there is always a 3rd party overseeing the bid to ensure the cost is not ripping off the tax payer (i.e. The 3rd party must approve the proposal). On average it takes 2 to 5 years to integrate a complex system containing tons of reuse code. This administration took 2 weeks and maybe had reuse code from Massachusetts. What did anyone expect. This administration deserves the outcry.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 4:17 PM, AleBrewer wrote:

    The author is taking what the administration is saying at face value. What they mean by signed-up is that these people have merely chosen a plan. Anywhere from 10% on up of applications have problems in them and cannot be approved until they are resolved.

    The best part is yet to come and that is the back end of the system that’s gets the premium funds to the underwriters isn't working and the President is trying to get the insurance companies to cover people retroactively so the government won’t be blamed for this.

    I expect many people will receive expensive medical services only to find out they really didn't have coverage to begin with and they will then be responsible for the full bill. Worst case would a lifesaving procedure denied for lack of insurance. I hope no one dies because of this.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 4:19 PM, Kay10 wrote:

    If you haven't panicked by now you are too stupid to know what is going on. Let me give you a hint. The sign up for health care is the very easiest part. Obamacare is joke on TV and every gathering you go to now. We have given away another Billion to Obama's buddies so they can donate some back to the Democrats and destroyed our health care system all in one shot. That my simple friends is CHANGE.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 4:26 PM, prism123 wrote:

    Sorry but the 1.9 million people with everything cued up but having not paid is the equivalent to loading up a cart with groceries and then getting to the checkout and walking away. It does not mean you forgot your money, it means you realized that you couldn't afford it.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 4:26 PM, CharlesG wrote:

    radicalview - I need to know the meds you are taking. I want some.

    So, I'm curious - what data did you use to conclude that the law will be a success? I guess we need to confine the discussion, so please tell me what the law's goal is (in your mind), and how will we recognize success when we see it?

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 4:28 PM, hardnoks1957 wrote:

    I should start counting all the people I talk to during the week who don't buy from me as people that do buy from me so then I can pretend I sell more than I do...-__- I'd be fired in a minute!!! What a fiasco this nonsense is and a fraud being perpetrated on the American people!!

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 4:34 PM, warpig6558 wrote:

    "the website was pretty much doomed from the get-go because of inadequate time to test the complex cloud-based IT-architecture behind the federally run health exchange, Healthcare.gov"

    Excuse me! they had 3 years to get the website up and running

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 4:35 PM, PRichey1 wrote:

    Interesting, so 364,682 people in the first two months were able to sign up all the while over 4 million people have lost their coverage due to Obamacare during that same period. Sounds like a typical government run project to me. Yet, somehow the administration still tries to twist this as a positive thing! I wonder if they realize that 364,680 of those people that signed up are all ones that get their insurance for free with the government subsidies. Then to top it off those same people think they have something now! At least until they find out they still have to pay the first $6000 of medical bills before the insurance even kicks in! So basically, these people will have to either go bankrupt or not go to the doctor anyway.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 4:37 PM, gskinner75006 wrote:

    It was time to panic a long time ago. 2+ to 1 signups are receiving full subsidizes, 1/2+ of those required to pay are receiving some form of subsidizes, what's left will sink fast trying to swim with this much extra weight. Game over, thanks for playing.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 4:42 PM, bengalcats82 wrote:

    This is the most ridiculous article I have ever read. Motley Fool, must be backed by the President and his fools!!!

    Nobody wants to pay the outrageous amounts that they are selling insurance for, and the prices keep rising!!

    TXObjectivist75 I believe you hit the nail on the head with your comment!!! "I bet Amazon wants to use the healthcare.gov metrics too. Imagine what their revenue would be if they could count all the stuff people leave sitting in their shopping carts as "sales"!"

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 4:43 PM, SWIMNUT wrote:

    There is the cost of correcting the website. Then there is the cost of implementation. It ail cost the US Billions

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 4:57 PM, gilbertct wrote:

    PSST....you needed "sign up" to be able to browse.....so the 1.9 million I would guess are curious. The ACA was a bill of goods from the very beginning - I'm sure Bernie Madoff always thought nobody would catch onto his scheme...just as President Obama and ALL the Democrats never thought they would be caught either. The Republicans have had a number of great ideas - including the idea from Rand Paul - where you would need to purchase catastrophic coverage - and allow insuarnce to be sold across state lines - no denying people due to pre-existing condition - and higher HSA limits and you can use for both college and healthcare....now thats a plan we would all love

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 5:06 PM, Wacked wrote:

    Oh heck they should have used the same software company to develope ObamaCare that they used to jinx the electronic balloting machines...vote for Rommey in a Democrat Stronghold and the vote was counted for Obama instead.... Dang Democrats can cheat nicely at ther ballot box but seriously can not build a working healthcare website for say 15 million instead of the 600 million plus they spent to get crap?

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 5:06 PM, LouBodoh wrote:

    The Unafffordable Care Tax = Obamination's Waterloo.

    Either start firing those who are in charge or IMPEACH this foreign National from Kenya.

    That's the next move.

    Save the taxpayers some money by ending this health care scam.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 5:19 PM, logiet wrote:

    How many of the people that have actually selected plans are fully enrolled with automatic payment plans in place? I think we are drastically underestimating the potential problems in this part of the process. And in raising that question I am bypassing the data errors embedded within the enrollment data submitted to the insurance carriers. We may only be in about the 3rd inning of what would be a suitable exchange if only there were more transparency and flexibility in the policies offered. The entire community rating idea is all wrong and discourages responsible behavior as to one's own health.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 5:20 PM, Kesabaran wrote:

    I remember last year when a deductible of $1,250 was considered "High". Now $6,000 deductible is considered a "good" plan! Add the Coinsurance and these "quality" plans are laughable. How many folks are really going to be able to afford this high a deductible and coinsurance???

    To top it all off, Obamacare has emliminated the Health Savings Account (HSA) for all but a few plans. This makes paying the incredibly high deductible all the more difficult. How can a $6,000 deductible not quality for HSA when $1,250 was sufficient last year?

    Lastly, the folks that really want/need insurace will signup by the deadline to begin coverage on Jan 1. (i.e. Dec 23rd until the administration delays it again!). The rest of the folks that wait until March will be deciding between enrolling versus the tax penalty. I am guessing that they will not be that motivated to sign up and will take the tax penalty that the IRS cannot even realistically enforce.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 5:23 PM, unclamaui wrote:

    Panic? no. Rejoice very much so. this is a MONUMENTAL government failure from the inception it was a pipe dream no stout research was ever put into it.

    Look at the disaster it is. repeal is the best choice America can make.

    Latest figures I may have these reversed.

    singles monthly payment 27% higher

    married/family rates 25% higher then before.

    money out of pocket before insurance kicks in $1000,00 more at minimum

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 5:24 PM, unclamaui wrote:

    In many ways this obamacare has been taxing... on the American people

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 5:46 PM, MS wrote:

    Amazes me how some people are so crule and have no remorse for the human race that they would be happy that so many suffer greatly per thier own benifit....Thomas Jefferson once siad it, " If a government has control over ones own property, then that government has control over his will '. How much more control does a government even have if they have control over your physical bodies and pocket books? You're not exempt from this folks. If you ever hope to own your own self again, you better stick up for the constitution, the bill of rights and the declaration of independence and kill the ACA along with the rest of the brave. The ACA provides a law that states "you have the right to deny medical treatment". Just don't sign up.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 5:54 PM, tessamia wrote:

    Listen, I think ACA is a disaster but, to be fair...you really can't judge it on November numbers. The danged portal did not even work....see what happens in December.....I think it will be far below expectations, but at least it is a bit more representative.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 6:35 PM, zookeeper6 wrote:

    just signed up yesterday no problems.only took 20 min got better plan and not much out of pocket,I suggest people stop listening to fox news and the Republican bullcrap,the reason Republicans are trying to derail health care is simple it takes money out of their supporters pockets and theirs.sign up get insurance

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 7:02 PM, Shogun wrote:

    The biggest problem with Obozocare is that all these people that had to go through HOOPS to sign up don't see the COST until they do so. Then, when they figure out what the MONTHY COST is, they feint... But, it's not JUST THE MONTHLY COST, IT IS THE DEDUCTIBLE TOO! and the fact that their Doctor is NOT IN THE PLAN THEY CAN AFFORD! Neither are the top hospitals. So, Obozocare is screwing over VAST swarms of people that USED TO HAVE good healthcare - FORCING WOMEN 60+ years old to have MATERNITY CARE - wow - isn't that GREAT! like they really need it - or - FORCING MEN TO HAVE MATERNITY HEALTH CARE... WOW - great again... Sounds like a health care plan design by DEMORATS to TAKE MONEY from those who WORK and give it to ILLEGAL ALIENS or THOSE WHO SUCK AMERICAN DRY and do nothing.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 7:14 PM, laura1963 wrote:

    Why is this president trying to screw us Americans with his no good insurance plan. We could avoid this problem by not giving illegal aliens free healthcare and money to live on. I am a disabled Vietnam era Veteran and at times cannot get medical help because this dumdass president gives money to countries that need help. Take care of us who need the help and screw the other countries and their need for money to help them. GOD BLESS AMERICA

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 7:31 PM, stevekoko wrote:

    Not enough time to get the web sight going,,,, they have to be kidding. Three and a half years is not enough time???????

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 7:31 PM, tishlover wrote:

    This is nothing, just wait till the group coverage kicks in next year. That's when the real fun starts

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 7:38 PM, PJSolarz wrote:

    364,682 visiting the site is not the same as signing up. This comparable to 364,682 visiting Amazon, adding an item to the cart and then closing the browser without buying it.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 7:49 PM, Sophisticated wrote:

    Wanna know why Republicans fear Obamacare?

    A healthy country is more efficient, productive and competitive. The Republicans prefer to deny health care to millions rather than see President Obama succeed at anything.When right wing luminaries boasted soon after Obama came into office " I hope he fails!" they were also hoping the US would fail. True to their word, they have worked hard to produce that result. Tragically, they somehow succeed in persuading millions of US citizens to vote against their own interests, counting on the gullibility millions. Yes, the Republicans fear the success of health care reform because it will expose their lies. As Lincoln said, "you can't fool all of the people all of the time."

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 8:35 PM, DevonShire123 wrote:

    The time to panic was in 1913 when the Bank of England took over our monetary system via the Federal Reserve. Another time to panic was when the CIA staged a coup and killed JFK. Still another was when that same group orchestrated a false flag attack and called in 9/11. The ensuing destruction of our nation, including Obamacare, is just the after-affect. It's well past panic time. It's revolution time.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 8:37 PM, boba62 wrote:

    If this President was a white Republican, the impeachment proceedings would already be under way for lying to the American people. He can do no wrong. What a disgrace.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 8:52 PM, VoiceInCali wrote:

    Figures California leads the pack. It's a one-party state (people gave them the super-majority last year), run by the Demodimwits and the Unionbloodsuckingleeches. As if things were not already expensive out here. By the time the employer mandate hits, I'll be lucky if I still have a job, because I certainly can't afford this abomination.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 8:57 PM, GhostdogWarrior wrote:

    Healthy people are not signing up which means the risk pool will ultimately get dumped on the taxpayer, which was the plan all along... Do people really believe this was not the plan????

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 8:58 PM, RickLV wrote:

    The failure of Obamacare is inevitable. As Republicans already know (and not one voted for Obamacare), socialism NEVER succeeds and Democrats are CLUELESS about how capitalism works.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 9:50 PM, erini wrote:

    The only thing to convince young, healthy and arrogant to sign up for health insurance is to turn them down at ER when they have no insurance. Enough of a charity for the parasites!

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 10:03 PM, Tommmmmy wrote:

    What really frustrates me when I read an editorial like this is that either Sean thinks we're all idiots or he really is. Do you really think we're all that stupid? Do you think everyone voted for Osama bin lyin? Do you work for the democratic party?

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 11:20 PM, Total06110 wrote:

    Sept 30th, 2013 - 30 million w/o health insurance

    Oct 30th, 2013 - 5 million MORE w/o health insurance.

    60-day signups, 365,000. Now, what percentage of those are Medicaid, what percentage are receiving tax-payer paid vouchers? How many healthy males age 18-34 were stupid enough to sign up and pay double the market price for health insurance?

    Wait until people try to use their policies and find out they're CATASTROPHIC insurance. Individuals will be bankrupt before they get out of the hospital.

  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2013, at 11:24 PM, Total06110 wrote:

    @Sophisticated - You're a fool. Obamacare is catastrophic insurance. The poor and middle class will stop going to the doctor.

    @erini - Are the young arrogant? If they don't get sick, it makes no sense to buy insurance. It's Libs like you who are arrogant to decide that EVERYONE need insurance and then decide what is covered by every policy.

  • Report this Comment On December 13, 2013, at 12:13 AM, bfw000 wrote:

    I see a lot of complaining and no alternatives offered up.

    Total06110, tell my six year old cousin who has brain cancer that young people don't get sick.

  • Report this Comment On December 13, 2013, at 12:13 AM, happy50132003 wrote:

    zookeeper6

    Let me know where u signed up. My premiums double and so did my out of pocket. This was a great package too. I am a 63 year old male than now has maternity coverage. My old policy was cancelled because it did not have maternity coverage. You are any idiot if you believe this is a good plan and you believe Obama. Being thick headed and stubborn and a die hard liberal does not make u smart.

  • Report this Comment On December 13, 2013, at 12:15 AM, bfw000 wrote:

    Sean,

    BTW, thanks for an objective blog on this important topic. Too bad most of the posters here aren't.

  • Report this Comment On December 13, 2013, at 12:22 AM, bobwhite9443 wrote:

    We need the World's smartest woman (Hilary) to save the mess made by the World's smartest man (Obama). Where are you Wonder Woman when we need you? You are an expert in Healthcare. Solve this crisis, please. What? You are too busy and have to wash your hair? Aaah.

  • Report this Comment On December 13, 2013, at 1:12 AM, SkepikI wrote:

    Those who think the luxury of time does not expire Jan 1 are not understanding what happens to the "high risk pools" that many states including Oregon set up to insure people with serious health problems and risks. These pools go poof on Jan 1 courtesy of the ACA. Those left in the lurch are fumbiling about with the rest of the population trying to sign up SOMETHING.... no matter how bad.

    I listened to an interview with a man who was in the pool because of serious coronary artery disease. Website not functional, paper applications stuck, nobody to answer questions, on hold for hours at a time. Supreme irony, the holding music is Cover Oregon's theme song "Live long in Oregon"

    The unwitting cruelty of government programed incompetence. You can't make this stuff up, its too unbelievable.....

  • Report this Comment On December 13, 2013, at 1:14 AM, SkepikI wrote:

    In other news, the CEO of Cover Oregon just took leave for "medical reasons"..... I wonder if he has insurance?

  • Report this Comment On December 13, 2013, at 2:21 AM, Frank3858 wrote:

    Terrible article. The new health care law has been bad from start to finish, in so many ways. The M.F. Community is a pretty we'll informed group and it is pretty hard to B.S. Them.

  • Report this Comment On December 13, 2013, at 6:14 AM, aslansfool wrote:

    I suggest everyone to cut through the hype and go to Enroll Maven and there you can get the actual reported raw data. When you read articles like this I am reminded of the Mark Twain quote "There are lies, damned lies and statistics."

  • Report this Comment On December 13, 2013, at 7:54 AM, ISHKANOTA wrote:

    whu does NOBODY seem to want to count the number of people with canceled policys into the number of people enrolled.

    do you not understand that this is suppost to get more people covered by insurance so that 7 million hopefull number by march 31st should be raised each time a polivy is canceled. today its over 4 million so add up all the numbers of people enrolled and people who just completed apps you are still in the negative.

    that means the ACA is so far a failure.

    that 7 million number will probaly be the number of camceled policys by march 31st if not 7 million being too small a number.

    this accounting is terrible. the ACA is designed to eliminate independant insurers, of 15 million people, these are people that work and want to be covered, of course they will sign up on the exchanges, this whole thing is funny watching people defend this LAW.

  • Report this Comment On December 13, 2013, at 7:59 AM, ISHKANOTA wrote:

    canceled policys need to be added to the 7 million people goal this administration has,

    canceled policys today are over 4 million,

    i could bet the number of canceled policys will out weigh enrolled policys before march 31st.

    to date canceled policys are more than 10 times that of enrolled.

    no new taxes of any kind for peole making less than 250,000, means i dont pay my IRS tax if i dont have insurance

  • Report this Comment On December 13, 2013, at 8:41 AM, Barmil wrote:

    "Then insurers are going to lose out because of higher medical expenses than the premiums they're bringing in, and premiums are going to rise for everyone."

    If you haven't noticed insurance already has gone up,quite a bit actually, kind of convenient that the new law made the old insurance premiums obsolete so now they had to write new policies and put the rates up and increased the deductibles. I might as well be self insured the insurance won't pay a thing yet I still have to have insurance to comply with Obama and his jackass party.

    And when did you ever see an insurance company lose money?

    Get Real this whole package is a sham!

    And I am still waiting to find out how much the repair bill is going to cost me in taxes for a program that is already a tax.

    Start asking the hard questions people it's your money what happened to it! You deserve a real answer.

  • Report this Comment On December 13, 2013, at 8:49 AM, Barmil wrote:

    Why hasn't Motley's Fool researched the repairs issue and inform us the patrons of this publication of the actual cost of the repairs to fiasco system for A.C.A.?

    There must be a gag order from the top not give out this information, other publications have been silent also.

    Could it be the White house is not being transparent again to the people of the country?

    I can't wait for the excrement to hit the rotary oscillator!

  • Report this Comment On December 13, 2013, at 10:01 AM, BEACH2916 wrote:

    The next stoke of genius from Odumma will be: We'll just fix this by making it a single payer system!!!!!

  • Report this Comment On December 13, 2013, at 10:36 AM, sabebrush6 wrote:

    From all of the young people I've talked to that had an IQ above 6, that have all said "screw obamacare". It's a piece of garbage. Of course, those were the educated people.

    The high school dropouts are just saying "huh, gotta 'nother toke" ?

  • Report this Comment On December 13, 2013, at 10:45 AM, freddiebaby wrote:

    "They have completed the grueling and arduous part of the health insurance process; now all they need to do is select a plan and pay for their insurance." That is the holdup, how are they going to pay. I bet most of these folks got to this part and realized they couldn't afford it.

  • Report this Comment On December 13, 2013, at 11:17 AM, maxxfield1997 wrote:

    More covering for a really bad law and an tyrannical fascist government. Around 50% of those who "sign up" are truncated to Medicare, so I wonder if those figures are in the sign up numbers they present.

    The same people behind this law are the same people behind Solyndra, the Henry Kaiser Foundation. There was money given to everyone, the insurance companies, Ms. Obama's friend the web designer, AARP, and a million other companies. The citizen is getting screwed again and being subjugated.

  • Report this Comment On December 13, 2013, at 11:21 AM, piasabird wrote:

    Are you reading mien comp for Christmas?

    My wife lost her job and cant afford healthcare. Just think about all those people who cant work over 20 hrs a week because of Obamacare! Obamacare does more to hurt the poor than any other bill in history.

  • Report this Comment On December 13, 2013, at 11:27 AM, piasabird wrote:

    Go read the Book of Ester. Haman built a huge Gallows to hang the queens father, but he was hanged on the tower with his 10 sons.

    What we need is an army of villagers with torches and pitch forks to go burn down the capital.

    Just pretend the president is the Frankenstein Monster and Pelosi is the Evil Mad Scientist.

    It is still possible for an armed revolt in the USA. We do not have to stand for this oppression.

  • Report this Comment On December 13, 2013, at 11:33 AM, Gabrielhues wrote:

    What a bunch of inept idiots running our country. I have never been more embarrassed for the gaggle of dummies we have in Washington. The statistics they are feeding the public is nothing but a bunch of made up nonsense. Let's have someone go to Washington and verify the bogus data they are trying to feed us and come up with the truth.

  • Report this Comment On December 13, 2013, at 11:56 AM, logan70389 wrote:

    The second sentence in the article "..doomed from the get-go because of inadequate time to test .." misleads the reader before the article even starts. Mismanagement was the reason it was doomed. 3 years is more than enough time to build and test such a system. Testing is performed to prove the system functions as specified - the system should work before testing begins. Testing should prove basic function and identify a few bugs - not prove the entire design is crap

  • Report this Comment On December 13, 2013, at 1:40 PM, BobPenn wrote:

    Conservatives correct; Obamacare should be delayed for all. Gov. not ready, more court challenges, fraud+ privacy concerns. Obama shut down the government to maintain his disastrous Obamacare.

  • Report this Comment On December 13, 2013, at 2:15 PM, jhenley3 wrote:

    The time to panic was when obummer was first elected.

  • Report this Comment On December 13, 2013, at 2:59 PM, sdfe66657 wrote:

    .Obama supporters will go hysterical over this well sourced list of 477 examples of his lying, lawbreaking, corruption, cronyism, etc. http://danfromsquirrelhill.wordpress.com/2013/08/15/obama-25...

  • Report this Comment On December 13, 2013, at 3:23 PM, True411 wrote:

    The only way to explain this rosy article in the light of the disaster that is ObamaCare is that Obama is paying liberal journalists to write favorable things and even lie.

    How about it Fool? Are you getting paid by the administration to write this garbage?

  • Report this Comment On December 13, 2013, at 6:06 PM, foolishlymeek wrote:

    Sean, you wrote much better articles before you were paid by TMF. When a couple comes into your jewelry store "just looking" for an engagement ring, tries a few on, then leaves, how many sales have you made?

    I own stock in a couple of insurance companies. I'm currently waiting out some of the Obamacare rules.

    First of all, Kathleen Sebelius just extended the deadline for signing up for care beginning on January 1 to December 31. She asked insurance companies to "float" any medical costs for people who have signed up but not paid during the month of January. She also asked insurance companies to pay for out-of-network doctors in the same month. She also wants pharmacies to give people prescriptions at insurance rate prices even if they don't have proof of insurance. (Just imagine a person buying a ring with no money, no proof of income, but he applied for a job. He’s a great credit risk!)

    If insurance companies don't follow these "recommendations," they look like the "evil-doers." However, also part of the Obamacare law states that insurance companies will be fined huge fines if less than 85 percent of costs are not directly related to healthcare. How much is Obamacare costing these insurance companies in paperwork, telephone calls, and "float"? I am guessing that Obamacare is pushing administrative costs way up putting insurance companies at risk of fines. One way to cut administrative costs, however, is to cut dividends, which is something I love to think about as an investor!

    However, there's also a little gift for insurance companies in the Obamacare laws, too. One of the provisions in Obamacare allows the law to bail out insurance companies if they incur higher-than-expected expenses because of the law. Another cost taken on by the middle-income tax payers.

    So now the law not only provides subsidies to people but bails out money to insurance companies.

    With the cost of a botched roll-out, the expenses for navigators and a new PR campaign, the cost of subsidies, the 20 new taxes, the increased insurance rates and deductibles for the middle class, I think it would have been cheaper for the government to outright purchase healthcare insurance for the 50 million people who could not originally afford insurance.

    Obama's attempt at socialism for 1/6th of our economy is going to hurt the American people - and I hope the Democratic party - for years to come!

  • Report this Comment On December 13, 2013, at 6:09 PM, foolishlymeek wrote:

    TMF's motto is to educate, amuse & enrich. I think they may need to add "infuriate" after all your articles on Obamacare, Sean!

  • Report this Comment On December 14, 2013, at 12:40 PM, chickenlittle2 wrote:

    Abandon Ship !

  • Report this Comment On December 14, 2013, at 4:10 PM, SkepikI wrote:

    ^ exactly what is happening in Oregon.

    Presumably the only thing worse than a good idea badly executed is a BAD IDEA badly executed....

    And if its badly executed, any intelligent being has to wonder if the bunglers charged with execution would be more likely to sign on to a bad idea or a good idea....

  • Report this Comment On December 14, 2013, at 8:21 PM, skypilot2005 wrote:

    But, "If you like your health plan you can keep it." "If you like your Doctor you can keep them."

    Right?

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2013, at 12:19 AM, chumpbacon wrote:

    As an owner fo a company we had to let go several people to get less than 50 people. In addition our insurance plans went up 57% for a worse plan with a higher deductible.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2013, at 8:17 AM, Mathman6577 wrote:

    It's not just the web site. The actual program will be a big mess too.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 8:24 AM, saucie776 wrote:

    What a joke......JOKE!!! Is this a circus because all I see is a bunch of Clowns. These people are "running" the country yet they can't set up a web site? What a joke! Research health care that is successful then stop being so self righteous and try it. Many good ones available that Americans call "Socialized" med because that is what we have had shoved down our throats.Not true. I felt like that about Canada be cause it was what we were taught , but isn't so. I spent 6 months in British Columbia this summer and got married there. Cant wait to have their coverage , which is paid for every man woman and child.WHY ????BECAUSE IT IS UNDER1 UMBRELLA AND NOT 100 DIFERENT INSURANCE COMPAINES LIKE WE BICKER WITH.The money comes from GST, Recycling, minor taxes on your grocery bill, but mostly thru BEER ABD CIGARETTE TAXES> They have waiting periods just like we do for organ surgeries, yet they are allllll covered. Open your minds and research it.It works.Everyday office calls,surgery, meds, doesn't matter , it's covered. Bad mouth it if u think u know what u are talking about but until u understand. I will tell u , I felt the same but I was wrong.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 12:39 PM, SkepikI wrote:

    ^ Ok, you are wrong on several counts here so its hard to believe the rest. Lived in BC for 2 years under their health care plan. There is NOT one plan in Canada, one umbrella as you put it. Each province has its own system some like BC and Alberta have fairly big differences. BC taxes are pretty stunning, including a (as I recall) 13% VAT on everything. And about 60 or 70% total income tax rate at the upper end. This leads to a vigorous "black" or cash market as BC residents figure out how to dodge the high taxes (a dirty little secret most Canadians wont tell you)

    I found the healthcare system quite good if you were healthy (ironic eh?) but plenty of horror stories if you were really sick and needed oh an MRI or surgery... many needing this kind of treatment fled to the US or other places and paid cash to get the treatment they needed. Thereby saving their fellow Canadians, a fair bit on costs. This was if you had money, if you were poor, you just waited, many times till you expired....of course if you have a cruel or darwinian outlook, this has some appeal.

    While I was living there, the BC Doctors and Nurses had a strike...they were negotiating with the provincial government over pay. This is another dirty little secret Canadians wont tell you about some provincial systems.

    And while nominally, as you say its all covered, that does not matter much if you cant get service.... got a cold? it was pretty easy to get to a Dr, and many did for this little flaky (fakey?) stuff because they could. Got cancer? take a number...

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 12:42 PM, SkepikI wrote:

    Oh, and at the time I lived there something like FIVE MRI units existed in the WHOLE COUNTRY while the US had hundreds of units.... I understand they are doing a bit better now... maybe six or seven...

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 9:51 PM, flightning wrote:

    So the basic argument is that the Healthcare.gov website has miserable technical failings AND healthcare is expensive, therefore we should get rid of trying to find a way to help people that have no way to get health coverage get covered?

    The basic fact is that every living human will require health care. It is being paid for today already by someone. I'm not sure I trust the government to decide what health care options I'm allowed, largely because watching congress debate provider wages or patient coverage would be horrifying, but I don't trust insurance companies either, since they themselves exist by taking money out of the system instead of paying doctors or patients needs.

    I'd like to see Obamacare get fully implemented so we can see how this is going to shake out. Changes and tweaks can always be made but we should not be going back.

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2013, at 12:05 PM, SkepikI wrote:

    ^ No the basic argument is the Federal Government is really bad at this sort of thing and has been for over a century. Just ask Vets and military retirees.

    And the most telling argument is the one that I never see- when an insurance co screws up or is malicious thousands of people perhaps hundreds of thousands are affected and you can turn to the state government or the federal government to fix it. When a state government screws up hundreds of thousands to a couple million people are affected and you can still turn to the Federal Government for a fix. WHEN THE FEDS screw up and are malicious TENS OF MILLIONS of people are affected and your only redress is a revolution.

    This is incompetent and may even be malicious in some cases. Let me know how you enjoy things and how it shakes out when your identity gets stolen.....

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