Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released the initial statistics on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act enrollment through both federal and state healthcare exchanges. The results are well below the expected numbers projected by the Obama administration.

According to the Nov. 13, 2013 press release from the Health and Human Services website, “Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius announced that 106,185 individuals have selected plans from the Marketplace, and another 975,407 have made it through the process by applying and receiving an eligibility determination, but have not yet selected a plan.”

Original enrollment was expected to reach roughly 500,000.

There has been a lot of contention as to what constitutes successful enrollment numbers for the first enrollment period. Examining the number of people who have applied but have not enrolled produces higher numbers than solely enrollment numbers.

The president and several other political leaders promised the American people that “if you like your existing plan you can keep it.” This is not true for the millions of Americans who have lost their private insurance plans.

In addition to the cancellation problems, the federal enrollment website healthcare.gov has had other issues. All applications submitted to healthcare.gov have to be processed and verified by several other agencies, including the Social Security Administration, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Department of Homeland Security and a consumer credit reporting agency, which slows down the website.

People are now being encouraged to fill out paper applications.

Results from paper applicant enrollment have yet to be seen. “All we can do is stay positive and keep trying,” stated Jessica Campbell, a navigator for Communicare Health Centers in San Antonio.

Campbell stated, “You do not need to go through healthcare.gov to sign up for a healthcare plan. Many people have the misconception that you have to go through the website, but this is simply not the case. As long as the plan you sign up for meets all of the ten essential benefits then you should be fine.”

According to healthcare.gov, the essential benefits include ambulatory patient services, emergency services, hospitalization, maternity and newborn care, mental health and substance use disorder services, prescription drugs, rehabilitative and rehabilitative services and devices, laboratory services, preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management and pediatric services.

According to Campbell, healthcare.gov is a great resource to use for information despite the issues with the application process.

The Kaiser Family Foundation website has a subsidy calculator that provides an estimate of a premium based on your personal information.

“The rollout of Obamacare has not been a smooth process. But we need to be patient and remember that this law is brand new. Only time will tell us how successful it actually is,” stated Campbell.

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