5 States That Have Given Obamacare the Biggest Boost Thus Far

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It's been a little longer than two months since Obamacare's health insurance exchanges opened for business, but it's been anything except for smooth sailing for the transformative health law.

According to the Department for Health and Human Services, full enrollment in Obamacare increased by 243% to nearly 365,000 people last month as Medicaid or CHIP eligible people doubled to more than 800,000. Furthermore, some 39 million people have now visited the federally run website and another 1.9 million have completed the application process but have yet to select a plan.

By all accounts, these figures are well below the HHS' projections which had targeted 7 million signups by the coverage cutoff date in March and have only further fueled the opposition's call for a repeal of the law.

However, regardless of whether you're a proponent or opponent of Obamacare, it's undeniable that there exists a definitive push toward health reform. Even if the bottom-line Obamacare enrollment figures aren't anywhere near HHS's goal, the nearly 2 million person's who've completed the application process but haven't selected a plan are evidence to the interest by millions of Americans in obtaining affordable health insurance if given the option.

These five states are leading the charge
Despite the downbeat report through two months, five states are soaring above the rest when it comes to signing up currently uninsured persons. As you might expect, the top two states are high population state-run health exchanges, but we're beginning to slowly see states on the federally run creep into the picture.

Here are the five states that have given Obamacare the biggest boost so far. 


Number of Full Enrollees



New York








Source: Department of Health and Human Services. (Link opens PDF file.)

Cumulatively, these five states have contributed 202,316 enrollees, or 55.5% of all people who've fully enrolled thus far. In other words, without these states Obamacare would really be in bad shape. In addition, these states also account for 1.52 million of the 3.69 million applicants who have completed their application to file for insurance coverage.

There are what I consider to be two obvious factors worth noting here.

First, states with larger populations are going to draw in a larger number of enrollees in most cases. Oregon, with its paltry 44 signups because of technical issues with its website, is an exception to the rule, but generally speaking, more people equal more signups.

The other factor worth noting here is that states that generally side in favor with Democrats around election time are likely to see better enrollment figures. California, New York, and Washington, for example, are historically Democratic states and were certainly behind President Obama's push to implement this health-reform law. Not surprisingly, many state citizens are happily signing up for health insurance.

Who's benefiting?
The obvious beneficiaries here would be insurers catering to larger state populations. Specifically I'm thinking about a nationwide health insurance provider like WellPoint (NYSE: ANTM  ) , which also caters to Medicaid-based individuals through its purchase last year of Amerigroup for $4.5 billion, and Molina Healthcare (NYSE: MOH  ) , a low-income health insurance provider operating in all the aforementioned states except for New York. Clearly, stronger signups in these five states are going to benefit both companies, as they will benefit from the addition of new members to their network.

Conversely, Aetna (NYSE: AET  ) just might be kicking itself a bit after pulling out of California and New York's insurance market this past spring and summer. Admittedly, Aetna's business is solid on the commercial side of the business, so it's not as if being absent from California or New York's individual market is a devastating blow to its business. However, in hindsight, I would say that Aetna would probably have been better served sticking in these markets and competing against the incumbent insurance companies.

It remains to be seen how having's glitches fixed and the site relaunched is going to affect signups on private insurance platforms, but I would contend that regardless of how performs from here on out, the private platform such as Aon (NYSE: AON  ) and eHealth (NASDAQ: EHTH  ) will remain winners.

eHealth's private insurance platform operates similarly to and allows individuals and employees of small businesses to compare policies and prices with ease. Best yet, they can completely avoid the federally run altogether which has become a sticking to point to driving membership gains.

Aon, on the other hand, looks as if it's going to be seeing membership gains really ramp up as corporations look to save money and push away from the traditional practice of covering their employees. Aon, for example, has signed up 18 corporate clients with 5,000 or more employees, and I would anticipate this trend to continue well into next year as companies look to cut costs and works on simply fixing all of its individual plan issues.

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Read/Post Comments (25) | Recommend This Article (6)

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 15, 2013, at 4:15 PM, altrue1090 wrote:

    Insurance allows people to get screened and treated for hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol and early cancer. The average life expectancy in Massachusetts, a state with high insurance enrollment is 5 years higher than in Mississippi and Alabama, states with lower enrollment that won't allow the expansion of Medicaid to cover their working poor. It shouldn't matter what state a US citizen lives in, but it does.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2013, at 4:27 PM, tbarbar90 wrote:

    "...the nearly 2 million person's who've completed the application process but haven't selected a plan are evidence to the interest by millions of Americans in obtaining affordable health insurance if given the option."

    Maybe. But remember that to see the policies and prices you have to fill out the forms FIRST. It is entirely possible a lot of people saw what Obamacare has to offer and decided they DID NOT LIKE IT AND DECIDED NOT TO ENROLL.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2013, at 4:40 PM, RFTECH3000 wrote:

    The link between the enrollment in insurance and life expectancy is laughable !

    People in northern states always had a higher life expectancy compared to the south and the underlying dynamics have very little to do with health insurance !

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2013, at 4:42 PM, RFTECH3000 wrote:

    a few remarks in regards to the statement that insurance allows you to get screened for hypertension, diabetes and other stuff !

    Free screenings for those conditions were available long before obamacare came along !

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2013, at 4:44 PM, puzzled wrote: shows California received $910,000,000 in grants to setup their Exchange. If 107,000 had signed up for insurance that would be $90,000 per voter, I'm sorry insured. isn't it true that we the taxpayers will be suppling a subsidy to help 70% of the 107,000?

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2013, at 4:45 PM, RFTECH3000 wrote:

    What I would like to see here is a comparison of the numbers for fully enrolled and poilicies who got cancelled , and while you are at it add the numbers of how many of those enrolled were previously uninsured and the age structure of the enrolled

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2013, at 4:49 PM, RFTECH3000 wrote:

    I am getting tired of the numbers game played by the democrats, completed application, website visits they all take those numbers and trying to read something out of it !

    My thought is that if you went through the process of filling out the applications and you were looking at plans WHY would you wait to buy a plan ? you don't have to pay the premiums before jan anyway and the prices are not getting lower so there is not really a valid reason for people who already invested hours into this not to complete the process unless of course you didn't like the options you been given !

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2013, at 4:55 PM, RFTECH3000 wrote:

    I looked at the new website and used the window shopping feature to check out plans to see how they compare against my plan , I noticed that the premiums were a lot cheaper than my BCBS plan , the rate was $184 where I am paying $220 right now , so I filled out a application and guess what - the rate after I filled out the app was $395 , so I called BCBS to inquire , the answer was that the prices on the window shopping feature are NOT accurate because the numbers are "adjusted" to reflect possible subsidies but if you don't qualify or elect not to take subsidies then your rates will be much higher for the same plan !

    I call this deceptive trade practices !

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2013, at 4:56 PM, RFTECH3000 wrote:

    and how many people got CANCELLED ?

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2013, at 4:57 PM, glr wrote:

    I am one of the 2 million, curious. Looked went into sticker shock (14,916 per year) left, will not return.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2013, at 5:03 PM, vke wrote:

    the 5 states

    state of aggrevation

    state of frustration

    state of dilusion

    state of lies

    state of stupidity

    I am in shock at the AMERICAN people who are litteraly bought out by someone saying somethings free. Haven't learned yet. Nothing is FREE.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2013, at 5:06 PM, RFTECH3000 wrote:

    In order to understand why CA , NY and WA have higher enrollment numbers you have to break down the enrollment numbers into signups for insurance and signups for the medicare expansion , you will then quickly see that in most states the medicare enrollment tops the insurance enrollments by a country mile !

    Since Democrat run states generally embraced the medicare expansion their enrollment numbers off course will be higher !

    The irony though is that the medicare expansion will become a big albatross for the democrats in 2014 and in years to come - here is why :

    1.) everyone enrolled in medicare will be one not

    signing up for insurance , this will lead to much

    higher insurance rates !

    2.) and this is the much bigger issue : there are

    by far not enough providers to cope with the

    exponential expansion of the medicare patient

    pool in those states , providers already consider

    not to accept any new medicare patients,

    quit practicing medicine or moving to other

    states who don't have medicare expansion

    3.) though the federal government right now foots

    the bill on the medicare expansion funding is

    going to taper off in a few years, at this point the

    states will have to find the funds somewhere

    which will translate into higher taxes !

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2013, at 5:14 PM, bcrich33 wrote:

    I am baffled - there are still some liberals (and I will paraphrase) - "your old plan wasn't good didn't cover enough...and WE have deemed it not good enough and you cannot him what you want anymore - we know more than you...just pay more - and you will get a BETTER plan - one that covers things you don't want, nor need - this helps the Democrats because the voting block that will pay nothing for the freebies always votes 100% Democrats.....ha ha ha ha suckers!"

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2013, at 5:15 PM, talon80000 wrote:

    Hey look Texas only has 14038 Poor people in the state because as of today the only people signing up are those that can't afford coverage.

    and what they do not realize is that if they can't afford the premiums how are they going to afford the deductibles. they are not subsidized

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2013, at 5:30 PM, vet212 wrote:

    Note that the total from all 5 states does not add up to the population of Buffalo New York no the real population of Little Rock Arkansas. sad and made more so by the destruction being wreaked on health care in the United States by this ill conceived act

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2013, at 5:37 PM, globeflyer wrote:

    I guess the only surprise, to me, on the list is Texas. The rest are hotbeds for "Obama-thinking". By the time Obama finishing bribing the insurance companies, they will all be in agreement that it's the best thing since the "New Deal". If you think the brightest minds in the U.S. drafted this stuff, ask yourself why they didn't plan on either (a) more doctors, or (b) more Nurse Practitioners/Physicians Assistants. There is no way there will be enough providers to see all the new patients. If you thought a 5-7 hour wait in an ER was long, "you haven't seen anything yet"!

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2013, at 5:47 PM, BuckeyeBilly wrote:

    What Sean Williams, the author of this article, does not want you to know or figure out is that of the alleged 39 million who have visited the site, LESS THAN 1% have actually enrolled! Even if you want to make the 1.9 million applicants a success, that is still less than 5% who have filled out the application. The 5 states that are touted as being the biggest supporters of Obamacare have less than 1% of EACH STATE'S population enrolled. "The nearly 2 million person's who've completed the application process but haven't selected a plan are evidence to the interest by millions of Americans in obtaining affordable health insurance if given the option." Are you kidding me? At best, all it indicates is that people are now looking into healthcare BECAUSE THEY HAVE TO---IT'S NOW THE LAW!

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2013, at 5:55 PM, laskjflkasdhgpq wrote:

    Obamacare doesn't suddenly give people access to screenings. These were always available for nearly free or very cheap. What happens if a screening gives bad news? That's when insurance should kick in.

    I'm most concerned about the number of new Medicaid enrollees. I work in health care, and the current Medicaid patients I see don't get enough care because Medicaid doesn't pay enough and few providers will work for peanuts. Are we just adding people to a program that doesn't work? Insurance isn't about the day to day small medical issues, but what is covered if you have a stroke, or cancer, or some other devastating event. Currently, Medicaid in my state pays $40 per day for any amount of rehabilitation in a skilled nursing facility. That's not adequate, and people relying on Medicaid get a bandaid when they need a tourniquet. There needs to be reform, but I don't think this is the way to do it. We're adding to a program that can't support the people already on it.

  • Report this Comment On December 15, 2013, at 6:45 PM, JustJP wrote:

    These pig is going to repealed

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 1:02 AM, c34now wrote:

    I would be very interested to see the demographics that make up these numbers.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 1:35 AM, Tommylee2 wrote:

    Did anyone guess California and New York? Of course those two would be at the top of the pile of Obamacare joiners, I mean where else will you find almost an entire state population so enamored with Obama and anything he does?. I knew Washington state would be too, as they are a bunch of liberal fools out there. Too many trees falling on the heads of too many loggers I guess.

    The one that surprises me is Texas, but I guess all the illegals there are signing up since they know that amnesty is just a few weeks away now.

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 2:33 AM, JackieInSeattle wrote:

    They are going to need a lot more than 365.000 people to make it work. I will not be one of them. Most who have signed up qualify to get it for free, it will collapse, they won't have enough people paying into it. On another note, my mother in law who is 84, just got a notice that her Medicare monthly payment will go up starting in January, which is great because she has so much money left after paying bills from her 860 a month social security check. Thanks Obama!

  • Report this Comment On December 16, 2013, at 2:47 PM, SkepikI wrote:

    Sean: You really really need to look into the quality of these numbers and drill down into what they actually count and what the net is.

    For instance, Washington has had a net loss of insured due to the cancellations of polices and the State Insurance Commissioner's stance that neither the state nor the President has the authority to allow insurance companies to extend policies that have been made ILLEGAL by Federal Law on Jan 1. (Imagine that, thinking we all must follow the law)

    There is now an investigation proposed in WA to see if they can trust the numbers coming out of the exchange. Accepting any of these numbers at face value just because the "managers" of the exchanges say so is way too trusting given history and the experience in other states like Oregon (whose numbers have been revised downward from official announcements at least twice).

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2013, at 8:19 PM, karen7447 wrote:

    This whole mess is sad. The US is the only major country in the world that doesn't provide some kind of access to health care for it's people. In the US, you can work hard all your life then spend your 'golden' years in poverty because of poor health and a financial system that will take every dollar you've made to cover expenses because health care in the US is expensive.

    So we finally get a chance to have some sort of coverage for everyone, based on a model that has worked well elsewhere, and first you have the GOP screaming about a government take away of your 'rights (right to what, die in poverty?) to turn people away from enrolling, then when they have done everything they can to prevent, slow and obstruct implementation have the gall to complain about what's not working. On top of all that, they have yet to propose any sort of plan to replace our current failing system. Disgusting.

  • Report this Comment On December 17, 2013, at 11:10 PM, SkepikI wrote:

    ^ congressional staffer living in DC

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