On Wednesday, President Obama's administration released a report detailing enrollment nationwide.
In Maryland, the 1,284 enrollees counted by federal officials does not include another 3,367 who enrolled in Medicaid through the state’s exchange, according to state officials. They said most other states can determine eligibility for the health program for the poor but can’t enroll them through their exchanges. Most would get a phone call from a representative, who would enroll them in Medicaid.
In addition to those enrolled, who may or may not have paid their first premium, the state also reported that 10,917 have completed applications through the exchange but have not chosen a health plan.
“It’s hard to know what to make of the numbers because it’s the first month and a lot of people haven’t picked a plan,” said Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, secretary of the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. He also said officials continue to work on the website, which continues to show error messages to users.
“We expect the numbers to keep growing,” he said.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, a Democrat of Maryland, said he’ll also be watching for the number to rise.
“The data released this afternoon by the Department of Health and Human Services shows that there is a clear interest and demand for affordable, quality health care coverage,” he said in a statement. “Like any major program that is rolled out nation-wide, enrollment in these health insurance marketplaces is expected to begin slowly and grow over time.”
Rep. Andy Harris, the only Republican in the state’s congressional delegation, wasn’t as optimistic.
“The website sign up process has been an embarrassment, but the real train wreck of the president’s health plan is for the 73,000 families who lost their insurance,” he said in a statement. “The president made three promises: if you liked your plan you could keep it, if you liked your doctors you could keep them, and the price for family health insurance would be $2500 less per year. All three are turning out not to be true.”
Insurance companies notified state insurance regulators that they would cancel 73,000 plans, largely because they did not meet the standards required by the new health care law.