Twenty-four hours have passed since the health care exchanges for the Affordable Care Act opened to the public. Now we have more than speeches and talking points to judge the Obamacare exchanges. We have numbers.
Yesterday an astonishingly high number for people from around the country logged on to the exchanges, temporarily crashing the federal exchange site and delaying the launches of a few state-run sites. That's the good news for Obamacare. The bad news is that, of those millions, an astonishingly low number of individuals actually signed up for health insurance. We combed through reports from Bloomberg, Politico, Reuters and The New York Times to get a sense of how popular, and successful, the sign-ups were yesterday.
Number of web hits/people who visited the exchange sites:
The federal site, healthcare.gov, recorded 2.8 million hits
7.5 million people visited New York's site, 2.5 million in the first half hour
100,000 people visited Minnesota's site by mid-afternoon
Illinois had over 65,000 unique visitors
About 55,000 in Colorado
Connecticut exchange had 28,000 web hits by 4 p.m.
Over 24,000 people visited Kentucky's exchange site
As many as 16,000 hits a second in California
Over 8,000 people visited Idaho's exchange site
The web traffic numbers don't give an exact number of visitors to the the various exchanges, but the paint a clear picture of intense interest, especially in high population states, where there are millions of uninsured. New York, for example, has 2.5 million uninsured. But while several exchanges, including the federal exchange that covers 36 states, were forthcoming with their impressive web traffic numbers, they were less open about how many people signed up. The number of applications rerouted to the federal system isn't available either. In any case, many people weren't able to sign up.
Number of people who successfully signed up:
In Colorado, 1,450 individuals created accounts to shop for plans — 55,000, remember, accessed the site.
Only 167 individuals applied for coverage in Connecticut
1,235 people completed applications in Kentucky according to Bloomburg, though Politico says it's closer to 2,000
Representatives from the federal government declined to say how many individuals successfully applied for health insurance yesterday
What the market thinks:
The high level of interest rubbed off on stock prices in the medical insurance industry. Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that stock prices went up between 3 percent and 4.3 percent for some of the country's biggest insurers and hospital chains.