The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released the first official tally of how many Americans signed up for health insurance through the new exchanges during their first month of operation.
Enough Kansans have purchased a plan through the website, to fill an entire Kansas town—specifically, the town of Hartford, population 371. That figure led Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts to declare the health law a failure.
More than 6,000 Kansans have completed applications on behalf of 12,000 individuals. Half of those completed applications are eligible for federal subsidies. Another 1,700 Kansans have been found eligible for Medicaid.
In Missouri, 751 people have signed up through the website. There have been 14,131 applications on behalf of 27,911 individuals. Of those, 4,157 people found out they were eligible for Medicaid.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius expects the number of people buying plans to grow. That’s what happened in Massachusetts a few years ago, when that state launched its own health insurance exchange.
“People visited the site multiple times before they finally made a decision," said Sebelius. "For this first month we had a lot of people who came in, wanted to get an application set, wanted to know what they were eligible for, and now will spend some time doing shopping.”
Almost 27 million people have visited the state and federal websites. Another 3 million have phoned the call centers.