Just 701 Indiana residents chose a health insurance plan through the federally run online exchange during its glitch-plagued first month of operation, the federal government announced Wednesday. Meanwhile
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said fewer than 27,000 people managed to enroll for health insurance last month in the 36 states relying on the problem-filled federal website for President Barack Obama's overhaul.
The dismal numbers were even lower than estimates recently circulated. There was one bright spot: States running their own websites did better than the feds, reporting more than 79,000 sign-ups.
Even so, total private insurance enrollment after the first month of the health care rollout was only about one-fifth what the administration had expected during that time period.
Enrollment numbers totaled 106,185. A Sept. 5 administration estimate had projected that 494,620 people would enroll in the first month.
In Indiana, figures also showed that the insurance exchange had nearly 16,000 completed applications from Indiana from Oct. 1 to Nov. 2. Those applications sought coverage for nearly 32,000 people, and more than 19,000 of them have been found eligible to enroll in a plan through the exchange, figures showed.
More than 11,300 people have been found to be eligible for Medicaid, the state-federal health plan for needy people, or the federally subsidized Children's Health Insurance Program, the figures showed. Those people might still be awaiting a state determination of eligibility.
The HHS figures did not indicate how many Indiana residents selecting a health plan have started paying premiums.
Indiana Family and Social Services Administration spokesman Jim Gavin said the agency had no comment Wednesday on the Indiana numbers released by HHS.
More than 500,000 uninsured Indiana residents are believed to be eligible to purchase plans through the federally run exchange under the health care overhaul. Indiana, like more than 30 other states, opted to have the federal government run the exchange for Indiana rather than operate its own.
Many questions still remain unanswered about the status of expanding Medicaid coverage for Indiana residents. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld last year the federal mandate that people must own insurance, but struck down a provision forcing states to expand Medicaid.
Gov. Mike Pence and Republican lawmakers controlling the General Assembly have supported expanding coverage using the Healthy Indiana Plan, Indiana's Medicaid-funded health savings account program. The Pence administration won a one-year extension of the Healthy Indiana Plan last summer from the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, but negotiations over an expansion of the plan have been delayed.