DENVER — Despite some technical problems, thousands of Coloradans signed up for accounts with the new state health insurance marketplace website during its first week, according to metrics released Monday.
Connect for Health Colorado, the marketplace associated with the federal Affordable Care Act, saw 162,941 unique visitors during the period between Oct. 1 and Oct. 7, operators reported. Of those, 18,174 people created accounts.
But only 226 of them actually bought health care plans, covering 305 people in total.
“Our first week of operations was exciting and extremely busy as more than a hundred thousand Coloradans visited our website to start the shopping process for health insurance,” CEO Patty Fontneau said. “This is a strong start as we work to sign up thousands of Coloradans for health insurance.”
But many opponents of the Affordable Care Act, including Republicans in Congress who refused to fund the government over their objections to “Obamacare”, argued that it was a dismal first week for an exchange the government is spending $21 million to market to the public.
Only 226 people enticed so far by Colorado’s $21 million Obamacare ad campaign. http://t.co/Vq2Qf4IYvv
— Rep. Cory Gardner (@repcorygardner) October 14, 2013
Democrats have acknowledged the technical problems that have plagued exchanges in Colorado and several other state as “glitches” that will be worked out.
They believe the enrollment numbers will be far higher by March 2014, when the open enrollment period ends.
Former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, a Democrat who served under President Obama when the Affordable Care Act was debated and passed, concurred, but not without also referring to the larger problems with exchanges as “excruciatingly embarrassing” for the White House.
“This was bungled badly,” Gibbs said. “This was not a server problem, like, right, just too many people came to the website. This is a website architecture problem.
“It’s not fatal, because there are still many weeks and days to go before the enrollment period closes at the end of March.”
Connect for Health Colorado also reported 97.25 percent “uptime” of the website, and an average wait time of five minutes, 44 seconds for residents who called the marketplace phone line.
For more information, visit the marketplace website or call 1-855-752-6749.