Administration says to expect higher November enrollment

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Monday, December 2, 2013 - 9:00am

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- November insurance plan enrollment on the federal HealthCare.gov website is expected to be higher than the previous month's numbers, the Obama administration said Monday.

Final November numbers, still being prepared for a mid-December release, will show more Americans enrolled while a massive effort took place to repair the website.

"We're in the process of scrubbing final data and expect to report November numbers in mid-December, but we expect that enrollment will increase with the technical improvements we've made," said Health and Human Services Spokeswoman Joanne Peters in a statement Monday. She added that enrollment through alternate channels and successful state-based exchanges would help bolster November's figures.

On Sunday, administration officials announced they had met their deadline for getting HealthCare.gov working for the "vast majority" of users, saying response times and error rates had been slashed while capacity increased.

They also described the weeks-long repair process that involved overhauling the website's management structure and installing a 24-hour "rapid response" team to address technical issues as they arise.

Those technical issues put a damper on the first month's enrollment figures for the Affordable Care Act. Just over 106,000 people signed up for Obamacare in October, and fewer than 27,000 Americans selected plans through the HealthCare.gov website.

The White House has said they expect enrollment to increase as the six-month period for people to buy insurance progressed.

"It's important to remember we are just two months into a six month open enrollment period that we expect will ramp up over time as we've seen in other implementation efforts, such as Massachusetts and Medicare Part D," Peters said Monday.

Marilyn Tavenner, the official charged with implementing Obamacare as director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told congressional lawmakers last month that the administration had hoped to enroll 800,000 on the insurance exchanges by the end of November.
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