Fewer than 50,000 Americans have thus far bought a health-care plan on the problem-plagued ObamaCare website according to an insurance industry report, representing only a fraction of the half-million enrollees the administration apparently wanted the first month.
The number was reported first Monday by The Wall Street and confirmed by Fox News, which was told the final reporting day was Nov. 3.
The Department of Health and Human Services issued a prompt response, saying officials could not confirm the numbers.
“We have always anticipated that initial enrollment numbers would be low and increase over time,” said agency spokeswoman Joanne Peters. “And, as we have said, the problems with the website will cause the numbers to be lower than initially anticipated."
Healthcare.gov went live Oct. 1 and was immediately plagued with such problems as slow response time, volume-induced crashes and supplying incorrect information.
Official have since called in private technical experts and have taken the site off line in non-peak hours to perform maintenance and improve the situation.
The federal site handles insurance enrollment for 36 states without their own sites.
The administration has set a goal of signing up seven million Americans for insurance by next March, when open enrollment ends.
The Journal reported the number of enrollees thus far could be as low as 40,000 and that the administration’s goal of 500,000 enrollees in October is based on an internal memo cited last week by Michigan Republican Rep. Dave Camp.
The top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch said in a statement the low numbers are not surprising because of the website's problems.
"Whether it's higher costs, fewer choices or simply website glitches, it's becoming more clear with each passing day that this law isn't ready for prime time and should be delayed," Hatch said.