Help Needed w/Crowdsourcing ACA Signups (160,000+ so far)
NOTE: This was originally posted over at Daily Kos. I've since ported it over here, verbatim, for archival purposes.
I was inspired by my diary a few days ago (At least 84,000 have signed up...) to set up a very simple website devoted to nothing more than keeping track of the official ACA/Obamacare signup numbers as they're reported by the states running their own exchanges (as well as other reputable sources).
The HHS Dept. has stated that they aren't planning on releasing any official numbers for the still-massively-screwed-up federal exchange (Healthcare.gov), so this will have to serve for the moment. If and when someone else starts tracking these numbers on a regular basis, I'll be happy to give up this effort, but until then, it's at least something.
Here's the place to go; I'll be compiling the numbers as they come in, to the best of my ability, at the following link:
I've set it up as a Google Docs spreadsheet so I can easily plug in updated numbers and source links as they come in.
The blue states are the ones that are running their own exchanges; the rest are all run by the Federal site (Healthcare.gov), although it looks like 2 states (Idaho and New Mexico) will be moving to their own next year, and Utah has it's own site for business signups only. Interestingly, it turns out that the territories (American Samoa, Puerto Rico, etc.) aren't covered by the ACA at all.
So far, 2 weeks in, according to the listed sources, the current tally stands at 161,213 people actually signed up for actual health insurance policies through the exchanges.
However, I'll need your help. I'd appreciate it if 15 people (one for each state exchange, plus one for D.C.) could volunteer to check the media in each of those states for the latest official (hopefully accurate) figures on how many people have actually signed up for a healthcare policy via the ACA (as opposed to just creating an account, although those numbers will be listed as well).
Oregon and Washington State will be tracked by rsmpdx.
Maryland will be tracked by dadadata.
Colorado will be tracked by MotherShipper.
California will be tracked by ybruti.
Here's the other states I need covered; If you're interested in assisting, email me at cgaba (at) brainwrap (dot) com, thanks!
--District of Columbia
Ideally, I'd like to have people actually call their state's Dept. of Health & Human Services (or whatever the appropriate agency is?) to get an official tally every Tuesday morning, but I'll take what I can get.
A few other notes:
--Since not every story with an update will come out on a Tuesday, I'll use my best judgment as to whether to lump it in with the previous week or the following week's figures.
--Some of the stories list "households", others list "residents" or "people". In cases where they list the number as a "household" (but it's a reliable number), I'll multiply by 2.6 (which, according to the Census Bureau, is the average number of people in a U.S. "household" these days).
--Remember that the 160,000 figure only includes info on the 7 states that have actually released their numbers. It doesn't include Colorado, D.C., Hawaii, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon or Vermont. It doesn't include Massachusetts (which is sort of a special case, since they've had their exchange open for years (thanks, Mitt!!) and are already down to 5% uninsured, so I wouldn't expect too much movement there). And, of course, it doesn't include the 36 states (including big ones like Florida and Texas) which are covered by the Healthcare.gov behemoth.
--Also important: This number only includes people who have actually fully completed the signup process. In many cases there are thousands of pending applications, either online or printed paper, waiting to be processed.
--The magic number is 7 million, and the date for that magic number is March 30, 2013. That's the number that the Obama administration has been openly touting as their goal for the first 6 months of the exchanges; apparently, if they hit that mark, the law should be financially successful; if they fall short, it probably won't (at least not initially). Of course, it also depends on who signs up--ideally, they want a good chunk of those 7 million to be young, healthy folks (the type unlikely to actually use too many healthcare services), to shore up the cost of the rest of us.
To hit 7 million in 6 months, they'll have to average at least 270,000 signups per week. However, the signup numbers will fluctuate greatly depending on the time (expect a spike in signups as we approach Dec. 15th), so I'm not too concerned...yet.