CBO: Glitchy exchange rollout means 1M fewer enrollees

The federal health insurance exchange's glitch-filled rollout likely deterred about 1 million consumers from signing up for coverage, according to an analysis from the Congressional Budget Office released Tuesday.

The agency reduced its projected exchange enrollment from 7 million people to 6 million for this year. It also lowered its enrollment prediction for Medicaid from 9 million to 8 million consumers.

It's worth noting the CBO didn't alter its overall enrollment predictions. It still expects up to 25 million people will sign up for health coverage through the exchanges in 2017 and later years, as consumers who didn't enroll last year eventually trickle their way into coverage through the online marketplace.

Although first year enrollment numbers are lower than originally predicted, CBO analysts said "enrollment in exchanges will rise sharply in the next few years--reaching 22 million by 2016--as people become more familiar with the new insurance options and subsidies."

Plus, the CBO said 86 percent of consumers younger than 65 years old will have health insurance this year, an increase from 82 percent in 2013. The agency predicts that number will continue to rise, reaching 92 percent in 2017.

The Obama administration dismissed concerns about the lower enrollment predictions. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said they're still "confident we're going to have a substantial number of Americans covered," The Hill's Healthwatch reported. "The issues with the website have been well-documented and covered. And what is true today is that enrollment is ramping up and ramping up rapidly."

To learn more:
- here's the CBO analysis (.pdf)
- see the Healthwatch article

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