Feds: 877 Wis. residents selected health plans

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Associated Press | November 14, 2013

MILWAUKEE  — Fewer than 900 Wisconsin residents managed to successfully sign up for a health insurance plan through the federal online exchanges last month, a lower than anticipated figure that signals just how problematic the troubled website has been.

About 700,000 Wisconsin residents were expected to shop for insurance coverage on the new marketplace when the HealthCare.gov website launched Oct. 1, although officials didn't release estimates on how many people would sign up in the first month.

But the site was plagued with technical problems that prevented most people from completing applications or even registering with the site.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released state-by-state numbers Wednesday of people who were able to enroll through the new exchanges between Oct. 1 and Nov 2.

The report showed that 19,098 Wisconsin residents, shopping on behalf of 35,000 people including spouses and children, got far enough through the process to be able to submit applications. But of those, just 877 people successfully enrolled.

The report provided no detailed information about those buying plans or what types of plans they selected. For example, it did not say what percentage of those who have selected plans were in the younger and healthier demographic that is sought by insurance companies to balance out those who are sicker and more expensive to cover.

Wisconsin is relying on the federal website because Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who opposes President Barack Obama's signature health care program, chose not to create a state-run marketplace. Federal officials have said they hope to get the website working smoothly by the end of this month.

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