The latest numbers from the White House this week show enrollments for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, are picking up -- but they are still well below what the administration had predicted.
For those who have signed up, policies take effect the first of the year.
For the past 18 months, 27-year-old singer Derek Evry has been uninsured, and forced to pay out of his own pocket for some very expensive medical procedures. But that changed on December 13, when he signed up for Obamacare.
“I can get a routine checkup now, and it's affordable. I don't have to go to an urgent care in an emergency," said Evry."If I get sick, I can just to go see a doctor, and I don't have to worry about, you know, 'Is this going to cost me 300 or more dollars, is this going to cost me $1,000, is this going to cost me whatever?'"
Evry is one of 975,000 people who signed up on HealthCare.gov in December -- a surge of new enrollments that pushed the number to 1.1 million. Another 800,000 people signed up using the state-run health care exchanges for an overall total of nearly two million since October.
Jennifer Palmieri, President Obama’s communications director, said, “December was great in terms of people wanting to be covered, and also in terms of our website being able to handle the traffic, and being able to actually enroll people.”
But Palmieri says there’s a lot of work to be done if the administration is going to hit its goal of seven million by the end of March, including getting more of the young and healthy to enroll.
Another White House concern: making sure people who think they've enrolled, actually have coverage.
The administration is working with large pharmacies and hospitals to try to get in front of possible problems. In a statement, the CVS pharmacy chain announced it may provide "a transitional supply of a prescription to a patient experiencing a temporary disruption in coverage."
Late Monday, Walgreens pharmacy announced it would
provide a similar service. This comes after Health and Human Services Secretary
Kathleen Sebelius spent the day reaching out to the chief executive officers of
the major pharmacy companies.