Only 5% of Alaska’s uninsured signed up for ObamaCare?

posted at 11:21 am on March 19, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Which is worse about this story?  Is it that only 6,666 people in Alaska have signed up in ObamaCare, or that it’s only the fifth-lowest total among states? The state estimated that more than 139,000 Alaskans would have eligibility to enroll in ObamaCare, but with the deadline approaching for enforcement — kind of, anyway — only five percent of them have done so, reports the Alaska Daily News (via Salena Zito):

In less than two weeks, the health insurance marketplace will close, shutting out Alaskans until the next enrollment cycle and imposing fines on some of the uninsured.

Nearly 5 percent of the 139,422 Alaska residents determined eligible to enroll in health insurance through the Affordable Care Act have actually done so in the first five months since healthcare.gov launched on Oct. 1. With 6,666 enrolled as of the end of February, Alaska has the fifth lowest number of enrollees in the country, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

On Tuesday, a cadre of health officials had a news conference in Anchorage to get the word out about the March 31 enrollment deadline. Some said that Alaska’s rural landscape hampered outreach efforts, but still praised a recent increase in numbers after a rocky first two months.

A “recent increase”? Er … not quite:

n October, the federal government debuted a malfunctioning website and only 53 Alaskans signed on. The next month, that number climbed by 345 people, then 2,958 signed up in December, with another 1,500 or so in both January and February.

“So the pace is picking up and we’re pleased about that,” said Susan Johnson, northwest regional director of the U.S. health department.

Actually, that’s a parabola, not an increase in the pace. Not surprisingly, the demand peaked in December, when nearly half of all sign-ups occurred. That may be due more to those who lost their existing insurance plans scrambling to replace them than enthusiasm for the new program. The numbers from January and February show significant declines in the “pace,” not increases, as the chart highlighted by Salena demonstrate:

That pattern is what we have seen on a national basis, too. The demand in December came as old plans would expire, but the extended enrollment period doesn’t seem to be doing much more than churning downward. ObamaCare supporters expecting a big surge in enrollments this month will probably be disappointed; those who don’t want insurance aren’t going to buy it, and those who do probably already have.

The HHS figures on age demographics for sign-ups look bad in that graphic, too. The majority (53%) of them are between 45 and 64 years of age. Only 32% are under 35, which means that the risk pools will be more distorted than insurers wanted for premium adjustments. This is one reason why those premiums will double in 2015 in some areas, and that will keep more younger consumers away from the marketplaces entirely.

Even for those who do sign up, the tax season will get brutal, John McKinnon writes at the Wall Street Journal:

Headaches over the health-care overhaul are likely to grow in the coming year as tens of millions of Americans face the task of establishing that they have insurance coverage to avoid paying penalties, tax experts say.

“We believe it’s going to create massive confusion,” said Mark Ciaramitaro, vice president of health-care enrollment services for H&R Block. “There’s so much now that confuses people. We think it gets much worse next tax season.”

Perhaps the biggest problem is a lack of public understanding of the complex and frequently-changing program, tax experts say. They expect that to be compounded by a misunderstanding of the penalties, as many don’t realize they could pay more than the minimum $95 for not having insurance. …

But the potential for confusion about the law is feeding speculation among some tax experts that the administration might end up waiving the individual-mandate penalty for 2014, or minimizing its impact by granting widespread exemptions.

What a well-planned system this has turned out to be, eh?


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That percentage is about the same as in Texas.

Labamigo on March 19, 2014 at 11:24 AM

We need to pass the bill to find out what’s in it.

Flange on March 19, 2014 at 11:24 AM

This is all Bush’s Palin’s fault

ToddPA on March 19, 2014 at 11:27 AM

Senator Begich & Senator Murkowski should be out there signing up as many as they can. Why aren’t you Senator Begich & Murkowski?

portlandon on March 19, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Maybe they are waiting until after the referendum about re-joining Mother Russia.

Seriously, at what point is it going to be impossible to hide the true numbers? The goalposts for “enrollment” keeps getting lower but are yet unmet. Nevertheless, the systemic problems with Obamacare can’t be denied forever.

Happy Nomad on March 19, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Operation Pffft underway!

22044 on March 19, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Nevertheless, the systemic problems with Obamacare can’t be denied forever.

Happy Nomad on March 19, 2014 at 11:30 AM

They won’t be. Just wait until this happens.

It The Hill is saying this, it’s bad, bad news for Oby & the Dems.

portlandon on March 19, 2014 at 11:32 AM

In most of Alaska, medical insurance is having a plane fueled and ready to transport you to the nearest medical facility.

Alaskans who live near civilization are different than those who are not. Very different.

platypus on March 19, 2014 at 11:32 AM

Don’t worry, Obozo is going to win that billion dollars in the bracket competition and reinvest it into Healthcare.gov.

NotCoach on March 19, 2014 at 11:34 AM

OT – mnjg and gwelf smacked down, royally, a very misguided American Asian, fooled by the US socialists, and very misguided (same as many who voted for obama).

Check them out, here.

Schadenfreude on March 19, 2014 at 11:39 AM

Sorry, s/b American Asian – point being that I resent all hyphenated Americans. YOU are American, not anything hyphenated, you incredibly misguided morons.

Schadenfreude on March 19, 2014 at 11:41 AM

What a well-planned system this has turned out to be, eh?

It’s a textbook case of plans based purely on ideology with no grounding whatsoever in reality.

lineholder on March 19, 2014 at 11:44 AM

Speaking of Alaska, Begich would vote against obama’s anti-gun Surgeon General-suggested. That guy is a nincompoop in medicine, really.

Now I wait for the next idiot to be appointed. Maybe they can get that dummy back, from under Clinton “we can make safer bullets“. This kills me, laughing, every time.

Schadenfreude on March 19, 2014 at 11:45 AM

point being that I resent all hyphenated Americans. YOU are American, not anything hyphenated, you incredibly misguided morons.

Schadenfreude on March 19, 2014 at 11:41 AM

Except if you’re gay then you have to be a gay-American so that everybody knows your orientation.

Happy Nomad on March 19, 2014 at 11:47 AM

Hey! If you don’t like ObamaCare today, wait until tomorrow’s changes!

GarandFan on March 19, 2014 at 11:52 AM

Yeah, folks don’t live in Alaska because they like to be told what to do.

JohnBrown on March 19, 2014 at 11:52 AM

Happy Nomad on March 19, 2014 at 11:47 AM

How gay!

Schadenfreude on March 19, 2014 at 11:54 AM

But these Obamacare posts are about whistling past the graveyard, by next Novemeber Democrats will be openly running on the ACA. Mark my words.
libfreeordie on December 20, 2013 at 10:14 AM

Schadenfreude on March 19, 2014 at 11:57 AM

I was in Alaska this past November and the Begich radio ads were complete damage control about Obamacare.

It was pretty sad, the ads consisted of him saying how he was opposed to Obamacare all along, how frustrated he was with its launch and thinks that it should have been modeled differently. If that is the case why did you vote for it?

Then the ad said how as Alaskans, we can not quit. We do not give up! He said he will continue to fight to improve Obamacare and make it work.

tcufrog on March 19, 2014 at 11:59 AM

Common Sense Scofflaws!!

Bradky on March 19, 2014 at 11:59 AM

Speaking of Alaska, Begich would vote against obama’s anti-gun Surgeon General-suggested. That guy is a nincompoop in medicine, really.

Now I wait for the next idiot to be appointed. Maybe they can get that dummy back, from under Clinton “we can make safer bullets“. This kills me, laughing, every time.

Schadenfreude on March 19, 2014 at 11:45 AM

I think I will dub the SG Nominee Dr. Pajama Boy. Hopefully here today, gone tomorrow.

22044 on March 19, 2014 at 12:00 PM

But these Obamacare posts are about whistling past the graveyard, by next Novemeber Democrats will be openly running on the ACA. Mark my words.
libfreeordie on December 20, 2013 at 10:14 AM

Schadenfreude on March 19, 2014 at 11:57 AM

That one never gets old.

Happy Nomad on March 19, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Obama will report it as 95% have signed up.

albill on March 19, 2014 at 12:01 PM

And yet Obama and his cronies keep pushing ObamaCare and even the RINO’s keep saying you can’t repeal ObamaCare……if Putin can invade a country and seize it’s land without any consequences, of course you can repeal ObamaCare…..and the sooner the better.

As a matter of fact….I predict that the democrats themselves will be pushing Obama on repeal before 2016. The democrats in 2015 will be so devastated that they will have meetings with Obama to make him “understand” or else. And it might be the RINO’s who resist repeal because they still want to curry favor with the “independents”…..but of course, this kind of thinking is all in their heads…..
It’s only the MSM that keeps propping up ObamaCare. It is basically dead with the majority of the country. At this point ObamaCare will be the disease not the cure for democrats. Hopefully it will kill them all.

redguy on March 19, 2014 at 12:03 PM

Hey! If you don’t like ObamaCare today, wait until tomorrow’s changes!

GarandFan on March 19, 2014 at 11:52 AM

Yeah, kinda like the weather in Texas….

redguy on March 19, 2014 at 12:04 PM

the administration might end up waiving the individual-mandate penalty for 2014

They effectively already have via the “hardship” exemption.

BacaDog on March 19, 2014 at 12:08 PM

…what happens on March 31?

KOOLAID2 on March 19, 2014 at 12:09 PM

…what happens on March 31?

KOOLAID2 on March 19, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Opening day for the Detroit Tigers.

NotCoach on March 19, 2014 at 12:14 PM

Then the ad said how as Alaskans, we can not quit. We do not give up! He said he will continue to fight to improve Obamacare and make it work.

tcufrog on March 19, 2014 at 11:59 AM

Why in the hell would anybody want to fight for Obamacare and make it work?

Happy Nomad on March 19, 2014 at 12:19 PM

…I love Justice Roberts!
…and he is so quiet!

KOOLAID2 on March 19, 2014 at 12:26 PM

Opening day for the Detroit Tigers.

NotCoach on March 19, 2014 at 12:14 PM

This had better be the year, or Ilitch probably won’t see them win a World Series.

Flange on March 19, 2014 at 12:27 PM

Opening day for the Detroit Tigers.

NotCoach on March 19, 2014 at 12:14 PM

…with an HHS representative…singing the National Anthem?

KOOLAID2 on March 19, 2014 at 12:30 PM

The goalposts for “enrollment” keeps getting lower but are yet unmet. Nevertheless, the systemic problems with Obamacare can’t be denied forever.

Happy Nomad on March 19, 2014 at 11:30 AM

lower and completely (timewise) moved too.

dmacleo on March 19, 2014 at 12:51 PM

…what happens on March 31?

KOOLAID2 on March 19, 2014 at 12:09 PM

sun rises
then sun sets
then..

APRIL FOOLS !!
:)

dmacleo on March 19, 2014 at 12:52 PM

But these Obamacare posts are about whistling past the graveyard, by next Novemeber Democrats will be openly running on the ACA. Mark my words.

libfreeordie on December 20, 2013 at 10:14 AM

Sorry. I know that Schad did this earlier, but I’ve been wanting to do it for a long time.

MisterElephant on March 19, 2014 at 12:53 PM

Even these charts are admin spin. The independent variable (month) should be horizontal. The drop from the December spike is more evident when it’s depicted properly. The way it’s shown above makes the dropoff less dramatic.

freedomfirst on March 19, 2014 at 1:10 PM

With most of the big cancer centers excluded from exchange plans we have ourselves a big winner program.This should go over real big with Americans.

docflash on March 19, 2014 at 1:32 PM

Actually, that’s a parabola, not an increase in the pace. Not surprisingly, the demand peaked in December, when nearly half of all sign-ups occurred. That may be due more to those who lost their existing insurance plans scrambling to replace them than enthusiasm for the new program. The numbers from January and February show significant declines in the “pace,” not increases, as the chart highlighted by Salena demonstrate:

Hey, they’re trying! Just wait till they get those websites working!

Ed –
You mean the websites aren’t working perfectly on day one two three four five six seven eight nine ten eleven twelve thirteen fourteen fifteen sixteen seventeen eighteen nineteen twenty twenty-one twenty-two twenty-three twenty-four twenty-five twenty-six twenty-seven twenty-eight twenty-nine thirty thirty-one thirty-two thirty-three thirty-four thirty-five thirty-six thirty-seven thirty-eight thirty-nine forty forty-one forty-two forty-three forty-four forty-five forty-six forty-seven forty-eight forty-nine fifty fifty-one fifty-two fifty-three fifty-four fifty-five fifty-six fifty-seven fifty-eight fifty-nine sixty sixty-one sixty-two sixty-three sixty-four sixty-five sixty-six sixty-seven sixty-eight sixty-nine seventy seventy-one seventy-two seventy-three seventy-four seventy-five seventy-six seventy-seven seventy-eight seventy-nine eighty eighty-one eighty-two eighty-three eighty-four eighty-five eighty-six eighty-seven eighty-eight eighty-nine ninety ninety-one ninety-two ninety-three ninety-four ninety-five ninety-six ninety-seven ninety-eight ninety-nine one hundred one hundred one one hundred two one hundred three one hundred four one hundred five one hundred six one hundred seven one hundred eight one hundred nine one hundred ten one hundred eleven one hundred twelve one hundred thirteen one hundred fourteen one hundred fifteen one hundred sixteen one hundred seventeen one hundred eighteen one hundred nineteen one hundred twenty one hundred twenty-one one hundred twenty-two one hundred twenty-three one hundred twenty-four one hundred twenty-five one hundred twenty-six one hundred twenty-seven one hundred twenty-eight one hundred twenty-nine one hundred thirty one hundred thirty-one one hundred thirty-two one hundred thirty-three one hundred thirty-four one hundred thirty-five one hundred thirty-six one hundred thirty-seven one hundred thirty-eight one hundred thirty-nine one hundred forty one hundred forty-one one hundred forty-two one hundred forty-three one hundred forty-four one hundred forty-five one hundred forty-six one hundred forty-seven one hundred forty-eight one hundred forty-nine one hundred fifty one hundred fifty-one one hundred fifty-two one hundred fifty-three one hundred fifty-four one hundred fifty-five one hundred fifty-six one hundred fifty-seven one hundred fifty-eight one hundred fifty-nine one hundred sixty one hundred sixty-one one hundred sixty-two one hundred sixty-three one hundred sixty-four one hundred sixty-five one hundred sixty-six one hundred sixty-seven one hundred sixty-eight one hundred sixty-nine one hundred seventy
verbaluce on October 1, 2013 at 10:18 AM

(H/T NotCoach)

After all, it’s only Day 170!

There Goes the Neighborhood on March 19, 2014 at 3:32 PM