A final surge of health insurance signups may have sent the number of new enrollees to the 7 million mark — the original estimate for the new Obamacare marketplaces and past what supporters had hoped for.
A White House official said the site was “on track” to log 7 million customers for private plans on the exchange. More than 4.8 million people visited HealthCare.gov on Monday, the last day to get started enrolling, said Health and Human Services spokeswoman Joanne Peters.
“Not an April Fools: 3/31 was a record breaking day to end open enrollment. More than 4.8m visits to HCgov and 2m calls to call center,” she tweeted.
Healthcare.Gov, the portal for people signing up for insurance on the exchanges, closed down overnight and now is closed to people trying to set up new accounts. They will have to wait until open enrollment starts for 2015 in November.
“Open enrollment is over for 2014,” it says.
The Healthcare.gov website enters its next phase on April 1, 2014
People who have already created accounts and started the enrollment process may still log in and finish. Officials say they’ll have some more time to finish up, at least for the 36 states using the federal site and for some of the states, including Maryland and Connecticut.
And people with major life changes such as marriage or a job loss can also enroll.
The Obama administration had predicted a final rush to sign up from the beginning, but officials made clear they felt vindicated after months of political attacks from Republicans predicting that Americans would reject the exchanges.
“Somewhere in Washington a Republican congressional staffer is re-writing the Obamacare enrollment failing talking points,” White House spokeswoman Tara McGuinness tweeted.
The Congressional Budget Office has originally projected that 7 million people would sign up the first year, but revised that estimate down to 6 million after the site barely worked for the first two months. The estimate made 7 million an unofficial target for the administration.
More than 40 million people lack health insurance in the United States, and it is not yet clear how many of the enrollees on the health exchange had no insurance before.
The administration also notes people have gained insurance in other ways under the Affordable Care Act — for instance through a provision allowing adults under age 26 to stay on their parents’ plans and through Medicaid expansion in some states.
First published April 1 2014, 6:16 AM
Maggie Fox is senior health writer for NBC News and TODAY, writing top news on health policy, medical treatments and disease.
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She's a former managing editor for healthcare and technology at National Journal and global health and science editor for Reuters based in Washington, D.C. and London.
She's reported for news agencies, radio, newspapers, magazines and television from across Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe covering news ranging from war to politics and, of course, health and science. Her reporting has taken Maggie to Lebanon, Syria and Libya; to China, South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines and Pakistan; to Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia and to Ireland and Northern Ireland and across the rest of Europe.
Maggie has won awards from the Society of Business Editors and Writers, the National Immunization Program, the Overseas Press Club and other organizations. She's done fellowships at Harvard Medical School, the National Institutes of Health and the University of Maryland.