DES MOINES, Iowa — Just more than 750 Iowa residents have enrolled in health insurance plans using the federal marketplace website, out of more than 25,000 who sought coverage on the troubled online exchange, according to data the federal government released Wednesday.
The numbers from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services cover Oct. 1 through Nov. 30 and show that enrollment has been edging up in Iowa. During October — the first month the federal exchange website was available — only 136 Iowans successfully enrolled in private health insurance plans using the website.
Still, the updated enrollment number represents a fraction of the people who have applied for coverage on the website. In October and November, 12,755 applications were completed on the website, for insurance to cover 25,007 people. Out of those applicants, 757 were able to complete the process and sign up for private insurance.
From those applications, 4,946 individuals have been deemed eligible for financial assistance to pay for insurance and 7,382 will be eligible for low-income health programs like Medicaid.
Iowa is among 36 states using the federal enrollment website, http://www.healthcare.gov . According to the new data, in those states 364,682 people have signed up for private coverage as of Nov. 30. In the states that chose to run their own websites, 227,478 people successfully signed up for insurance.
President Barack Obama's health care overhaul is designed to reduce the number of people without health insurance, both through an expansion of Medicaid and with new health care marketplaces where people can shop for private coverage and apply for government aid to pay premiums.
Problems have plagued the healthcare.gov website since the Oct. 1 launch, but federal authorities have been working to fix glitches. The new numbers fall short of the 1.2 million enrollments the Obama administration had predicted in October and November.
Enrollment continues until March 31 and people who sign up for plans by Dec. 23 should have coverage starting Jan. 1.