Obamacare’s 6 Million Target Hit as Exchange Visits Surge

March 28 (Bloomberg) –- The last numbers before the March 31st Affordable Care Act deadline for enrollment are in. Who hit enrollment targets and who failed miserably? (Source: Bloomberg)

Six million Americans have signed up for private health plans under Obamacare, President Barack Obama said, a symbolic milestone for a government that has struggled to get the law off the ground.

Obama announced reaching the mark on a conference call yesterday with thousands of workers who had helped enroll people, according to an e-mail the White House sent to reporters. The president encouraged the workers on the call “to redouble their efforts over the next four days” before March 31, the deadline when Americans must have started the application process or face a fine of up to 1 percent of their income.

Nearly four million people have visited healthcare.gov, the federal enrollment website, since Monday and hundreds of thousands of people have phoned government call centers in advance of the deadline, officials said. States running their own enrollment systems under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act have reported a similar surge.

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“We’re seeing a lot of interest, a lot of demand in these final days of the enrollment period,” said Cecilia Munoz, the director of the White House’s Domestic Policy Council, on a conference call with reporters.

The Affordable Care Act is aimed at offering health insurance to most of the nation’s 48 million uninsured residents. The 6-million mark meets an estimate published by the Congressional Budget Office in February. That figure was revised down from an initial estimate of 7 million before the troubled start of enrollment in October.

Photographer: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

People meet with insurance agents from Sunshine Life and Health Advisors as they try to purchase health insurance under the Affordable Care Act in the Mall of Americas on March 20, 2014 in Miami. Close

People meet with insurance agents from Sunshine Life and Health Advisors as they try to... Read More

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Photographer: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

People meet with insurance agents from Sunshine Life and Health Advisors as they try to purchase health insurance under the Affordable Care Act in the Mall of Americas on March 20, 2014 in Miami.

Dispatched to States

Munoz and other top administration officials including Obama’s senior adviser, Valerie Jarrett, and the U.S. health secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, have been dispatched to Republican-run states around the country this week to observe and assist enrollment efforts.

In most states, people who don’t begin an application for coverage before 11:59 on March 31 won’t have another chance to enroll before November, for coverage that won’t start until January 2015.

The Fate of Obamacare

The government said March 17 that 5 million people had enrolled, suggesting that more than 100,000 per day, on average, have signed up since then. The figure does not take into account people who didn’t pay their first premium to their insurers, the final step required to complete enrollment.

Congressional Republicans have criticized the Obama administration for not revealing the number of people who have paid their premiums. Federal officials say they don’t have a complete count from insurers.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Nearly four million people have visited healthcare.gov, the federal enrollment website, since Monday. Close

Nearly four million people have visited healthcare.gov, the federal enrollment website, since Monday.

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Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Nearly four million people have visited healthcare.gov, the federal enrollment website, since Monday.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Wayne in Washington at awayne3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Reg Gale at rgale5@bloomberg.net Angela Zimm

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