Only 371 Kansans were able to sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act website in its first month. In Missouri, the number is 751.
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -
Fewer than 27,000 people signed up for health insurance through the troubled Affordable Care Act website in its first, flawed month.
That is the website people in Kansas and Missouri have to go through. Only 371 Kansans were able to sign up. In Missouri, the number is 751.
Wayne Powell of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, which offers insurance through the exchange, said enrollment within their service area was well below expectations.
"Given the well-publicized problems with the federal marketplace, it comes as no surprise that enrollment numbers are low," Powell said.
Those were not the numbers President Barack Obama, his administration or supporters of the Affordable Care Act were hoping to see. And perhaps a larger issue is what impact the law will have on local clinics already treating large numbers of uninsured patients.
The disappointing HealthCare.gov website enrollment numbers also came as no surprise to Sheri Wood, executive director of the Kansas City Care Clinic.
"The numbers are low, and we knew they would be low. They will go up as they get the exchange and the website fixed. More people will sign up," Wood said.
Wood's clinic has provided free medical services for poor and uninsured patients for more than 40 years. It treats about 11,000 patients each year.
But it was forced to change its business model after the Supreme Court ruled in June that states do not have to expand Medicaid to pay for healthcare reform.
In addition to the business model, the clinic changed its name from the Kansas City Free Health Clinic to Kansas City Care Clinic.
"We'll continue to see the uninsured, predominantly with our volunteers and then those with insurance. We'll be able to use our staff and get reimbursed for the services we provide," she said.
But Wood is still pushing patients toward enrollment and coverage.
"People will be better off if they have health insurance. The system would be better off," Wood said.
The new business model goes into effect next year.
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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