While the federal exchange that Americans in 36 states must use to sign up for Obamacare won't release its numbers until mid-January, at least three states saw a significant increase in people purchasing insurance just before the December 23 deadline for coverage beginning on New Year's Day. Per the Washington Post's Wonkblog:
California estimates that 27,000 people picked insurance plans this past Monday and 29,000 the Friday prior. Just last week, the state was averaging 15,000 sign-ups per day. Washington state had 10,000 people enroll Monday, and a total of 20,000 from Dec. 20-23. That accounts for one in 10 Washingtonians picking private health insurance plans. And New York had about 20,000 sign-ups come in that same day.
Meanwhile, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Rhode Island decided to give residents until New Year's Eve to buy plans set to go into effect January 1. And people who waited until the last minute to deal with the still imperfect national system received a break, as well. According to a blog post on Healthcare.gov, customers who were unable to complete their applications because of website problems "may be able to get coverage," though it's not clear how that process will work. An estimated 1.82 million people have enrolled in private insurance since Obamacare's debut. A December surge in sign-ups would certainly be good for the program and the administration, so we're sure they will accommodate all those weak, procrastinating, flannel-clad man-children as well as they possibly can.