(Photo: Reuters/Jason Reed)
Only six Americans successfully enrolled in an insurance plan using the government's healthcare exchange website on the first day it was launched, according to government documents subpoenaed by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
The four pages of notes from October 2 and 3 from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services meeting summarize the scope of the problems with the site, what further work most be done, and tally the most recent figures on the number of registrants.
By the end of the website's second day, just 248 people nationwide had been able to purchase insurance policies through the site, the reports indicate.
For the majority of October, would-be applicants on Healthcare.gov were confronted with frozen pages, bugs, and error messages. Among the other problems facing users were problems with the ability to sign up directly through any insurer website, issurer phone numbers not "appearing correctly on the Pay Now page," and the Experian credit reporting agency creating "confusion with credit check information."
According to HHS sources speaking to MailOnline, by the end of the first week of October, roughly only 52,000 Americans had successfully completed applications. MailOnline also noted that the "number likely included consumers whose applications weren't processed immediately, but also a much larger number who elected to sign up for Medicaid coverage instead of enrolling in plans they will pay for themselves."
The low number of those successfully enrolling contrasts sharply with the 4.7 million unique viewers that the Obama administration has said visited Healthcare.gov during the first 24 hours after the site launched on October 1.
Joanne Peters, a Health and Human Services spokesperson said yesterday on Fox News that since the documents released were meeting notes, their content could not be considered "official."
"As the Secretary said before Congress, we are focused on providing reliable and accurate information and we do not have that at this time due to the issues with 834 forms," Peters told host Megyn Kelly. "We have always anticipated that the pace of enrollment will increase throughout the enrollment period."
New insurance plans will go into effect on January 1, 2014. In anticipation of that date, the White House hopes that by middle of Decmeber, seven million Americans will have registered through Healthcare.gov, its 14 sister state sites, and paper applications and telephone registration, the latter of which have not been tabulated into the total number of applications processed.
However, the impact of the dysfunction of the Healthcare.gov website is evidenced by the fact that those methods also rely on it to process their registration.
The White House has promised that the majority of IT flaws will be addressed by the end of November and yesterday announced that it was bringing in IT staff from Red Hat, Oracle and Google to fix the beleaguered website.