Del. Officials Say Enrollment Numbers Higher Than Reported - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Del. Officials Say Enrollment Numbers Higher Than Reported

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DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - There are low enrollment numbers across the country for Obamacare. On Thursday, both the president and the state of Delaware addressed the issue.

In a press conference President Obama addressed some of the issues surrounding the Affordable Care Act.

The president says some people would be able to keep their individual insurance plans for one more year. This comes after some insurers canceled people's plans because they don't meet minimum Obamacare requirements. That impacted about 5 million people nationwide.

Delaware Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf says that issue has affected about 12,000 policies in The First State.

The launch of the federal healthcare website has also been plagued by major technological problems. Obama says he had no idea the site would have so many issues.

"On the website, I was not informed correctly that the website would not be working the way it was supposed to. Had I been informed, I wouldn't be going out saying, 'Boy, this is going to be great,'" he said.

Delaware is one of the states using the federal marketplace. This afternoon its Landgraf talked about the state's low number of health care enrollees so far.

The federal government said Wednesday only 97 people had successfully signed up for insurance in Delaware.

The state says it's two weeks out of date, and the current number is closer to 136.

But that's still not many people. It works out to a little more than one-third of one-percent of the total Delaware hopes to enroll.

At the monthly meeting of the Delaware Health Care Commission, Landgraf explained why she believes fewer than 150 people have enrolled so far.

"We are in the seventh week of our 26-week open enrollment period," she said. "If you look at any open enrollment period, we are anticipating most people will actually enroll, select their plans, the last two to four weeks."

Landgraf says there is a high interest in obtaining insurance. She points to the state's health insurance portal, ChoosehealthDE.com, which has had 120,000 visits so far.

John Fluharty, executive director of the Delaware Republican Party, sees the enrollment numbers very differently.

"This is a colossal failure in terms of public policy, in terms of garnering public support for public policy," Fluharty said.

Many Delawareans signing up for health insurance do have to use the problem-plagued national Healthcare.gov website. But Landgraf has another suggestion for people needing insurance and making more than 400 percent above the federal poverty line, a little more than $45,000 a year for an individual. She says skip that federal site altogether.

"They can go right on the carrier's website to enroll in health insurance," said Landgraf.

And she reminds Delawareans they have until March 31 to sign up for insurance without a penalty.

Sen. Tom Carper responded to the low enrollment numbers, saying in a statement: "While I would obviously have preferred to have learned that more Delawareans had enrolled in the health insurance exchanges in the first month, it's important to remember that this is just the first of a six-month enrollment period."

And Rep. John Carney also released a statement: "The enrollment numbers in Delaware and across the country are disappointing, and nowhere near where they need to be. I continue to be frustrated by the failed roll-out of the health care law and my office is spending quite a bit of time working to resolve the problems people in Delaware are encountering."

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