The sorry state (by state) of health care enrollment — so far

BY Elizabeth Shell  November 14, 2013 at 11:49 AM EDT

The Obama administration released bleak enrollment numbers Wednesday outlining how many people have signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said over the summer that the “realistic target” is for 7 million to sign up by the end of March. As of Nov. 2, 27,000 people signed up for private health insurance in the 36 states relying on a problem-filled federal website, and states running their own enrollment systems signed up more than 79,000, for a total enrollment of more than 106,000 — or about 1.5 percent of the goal.

We compared the administration’s figures to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation that estimates a potential ACA market for each state. Overall, Kaiser estimates there is a national potential market of just more than 28.6 million — four times the 7 million figure. Here are some of the top-line results we discovered. You can also view the state by state results in our map.

  1. Vermont: The state with the highest rate of people selecting a marketplace plan (i.e., as a percent of the state’s potential market size) at 2.94 percent.

  2. California: The state with the most people selecting a marketplace plan, at 35,364. The potential market size is 3.3 million. Its rate as a percent of the potential California marketplace is 1.07 percent.

  3. 0.37%: The percent of the potential national market (28.6 million) that have selected a marketplace plan. That’s 1.51 percent of the seven million the administration says it hopes to have signed up by March.

  4. Iowa, Mississippi, North Dakota and South Dakota: The states with the lowest rate of folks selecting a marketplace plan (i.e., as a percent of that state’s potential market size) at a tied 0.05 percent.

  5. North Dakota: The state with the fewest people selecting a marketplace plan, at 42. The state’s potential market size is 77,000.

Note: Of states implementing their own marketplaces, California, D.C., Hawaii, Maryland. Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, and Oregon reported ‘N/A’ for some figures.

Kaiser excluded the following groups in determining a potential marketplace: people with access to employer-based coverage, and uninsured people with incomes below poverty, referred to as the gap group. Full explanation is available here.