According to a new report released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Obamacare enrollment numbers dropped during the month of February, making the 6 million estimate set by the federal government seem like a distant goal that may not be reached.
In January of this year, 1.14 million people signed up for Obamacare, while February’s numbers dropped to 900,000. Back in September, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services had originally assumed about 1.27 million people would enroll in February.
In addition, the overall number of young people under 35 was lower than expected: they have made up about 25 percent of total exchange signups two months in a row, lower than the 40 percent originally estimated. According to the report, there have been a little over 1 million young people who have enrolled, in comparison to nearly 3 million people who are over the age of 35, which makes up 69 percent of the total.
The Congressional Budget Office had predicted that some 6 million people would have signed up for Obamacare by March 31, 2014. Originally, the Obama administration had estimated 7 million – but later readjusted to 6 million after website problems on Healthcare.gov. However, despite the fact that the enrollment numbers this month declined, the Obama administration believes it will meet its deadline. “[W]e do believe that millions more will enroll before the March 31 deadline,” Julie Bataille, spokeswoman for the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told Crain’s Chicago Business.
President Barack Obama, meanwhile, claims that there will be no deadline extension. "We've only got a few weeks left: "March 31, that's the last call,” Obama said, according to CNN. “If folks aren't signed up by March 31, they can't sign up again until the next open-enrollment period with the 2015 rates. So if they want health insurance now, they need to sign up now, and we're going to make a big push these last few weeks.”