HELENA – Only 212 Montanans were able to choose a health insurance policy on the “Obamacare” online marketplace during its first month, federal officials reported Wednesday – although nearly 2,700 people completed an application.

Montana insurers selling policies on the problem-plagued website and groups trying to help people enroll said they’re glad at least some people have succeeded, but that the numbers are far below initial expectations.

Monica Lindeen, the state’s insurance commissioner, also said the performance of the federally operated website is “not acceptable.”

“I wish these numbers were higher,” she said. “Like so many Montanans who have attempted to use the federal website, I remain frustrated and disappointed by the performance of healthcare.gov.”

The Obama administration Wednesday said about 106,000 people nationwide have been able to use healthcare.gov or state-run websites to sign up for individual insurance policies under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

That’s about one-fifth the amount the administration had predicted in September, just before the marketplace websites opened Oct. 1.

The marketplaces are a key component of the ACA, meant to sell health coverage to the uninsured or anyone who wants to shop for an individual policy.

Those earning up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level – $46,500 for one person – may be eligible for discounted policies, but must buy through the website to get the discount.

The federal government is operating websites in 36 states, including Montana. The federal website has been fraught with delays and malfunctions since its Oct. 1 launch. State-operated websites have had problems, too.

The administration said only 27,000 people got policies through the federal website the first month, while 79,000 did so through state-run websites – which still often have to use federal data hubs to complete the process.

In Montana, only 212 people got through the application process on the website and chose a plan, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported – although not all have actually paid their first premium yet.

Also, HHS said 2,683 Montanans had completed their application, which means their eligibility is being or has been determined, and that those applications cover 5,205 people.

The feds said 3,815 people in Montana have been deemed eligible to enroll, and of those 1,711 are eligible for a federal subsidy to help them pay for the policy.

Christine Kaufmann, navigator coordinator for the state’s federally funded health clinics, said while the Montana numbers are low, “we have to recognize that the system is being worked on.”

“I think it’s going to speed up dramatically between now and Dec. 15,” she said. “We’re hearing more reports every day of people who are getting through or at least getting better responses.”

Jerry Dworak, CEO of the Montana Health Co-op, one of three firms selling policies on the exchange, said he’s concerned about people getting discouraged with the website’s ongoing problems.

He said hundreds of people interested in buying health insurance through the marketplace are showing up at health fairs around the state, but when fair workers try to help them get through the website, it doesn’t work.

“You just don’t know how many people are going to come back,” he said. “I’m amazed that we’ve got as many people as we’ve got through in Montana, because it’s still very difficult. I still say, if and when it gets fixed, it still has a huge chance of being a big success.”

Montana’s sign-up numbers are higher than all but one of its neighbors. HHS reported that Idaho had 338 people choosing policies, while Wyoming had 85, South Dakota 58 and North Dakota 42.

Missoulian State Bureau reporter Mike Dennison can be reached at 1-800-525-4920 or by email at mike.dennison@lee.net.

More from missoulian.com

(24) comments


Or .02% of the population. More have been struck by lightning!

Lynne McKay

What I don't get is that it was pretty clear what a liar, and other unmentionable traits he has,and people stilled voted for him, and I have to pay! Thank you Obama supporters for nothing.


Republicans/GOP/Tea-Parts have been fighting this from its beginning...

Yet, As a Christian Nation we remain silent about the millions, if not billions, are being wasted:

US trashes, sells its unwanted gear in Afghanistan...


In Jesus's Name we "Prey"

old farmer

Only a few weeks ago the Republicans that apposed this pack of lies were called the evil mean people. I see the first rats to jump ship is the Clinton crew. VOTE REPUBLICAN.


Stay tuned! Don't get too comfortable! Obama is about to fix it in a TV speech!


Gosh that room looks chock full of the young, healthy people Obamacare is depending upon for success. Remember, it needs an estimated 2.7 million new enrollees between the ages of 18 and 35.


Time to face the realities of a complete failure of Obama and his party. Obamacare is a social and financial debacle headed for an apocalypse. Why do think the democrats are running for cover by insulting us with their faux fixes for this disaster. What hypocrites and phonies they are, remember EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM VOTED FOR OBAMACARE.
We are witnessing what happens when the progressive agenda is implemented through a piece of legislation that was voted on strictly down party lines. We have already seen the navigators who have been paid millions in taxpayer dollars recommend applicants lie about the information on applications, the same people who gather your personal information..... Remember what Nancy Pelosi said about passing Obamacare to find out what's in it? We are seeing some of it emerge with millions of jobs and existing healthcare policies hemorrhaging at rapid rates. With this type of program the likelihood of fraud, waste and abuse is endless. God save the Republic.


And in the meantime the stock market continues to soar...you are full of it.


The mariket is soaring because the Fed continues to pump $40 BILLION amonth into it. It's a house of cards and the wind is coming up.


Where do you get your "facts?" Let's see some references, eh?


If you are implying that the current state of the market is an indicator that all is well, I'd have to say you aren't a seasoned trader who's been through the cyclic events of the last few decades.


Just a seasoned investor...doing just fine, thanks.


The reporter missed one very important point. Many of us had our insurance policy cancelled because, although it was the best one we could buy at any price, it was "defective" by Obamacare standards. We have called, by phone, the insurance companies authorized to offer policies in our Great State. The policies are better, less expensive, and federally subsidized unless you make quite a huge income, over twice the per capita rate of the State. We WANT these polices, but we havn't completed the applications BECAUSE THE CARRIER ASKED US NOT TO. Why? The website is defective, this is defective software technology, not defective health care policy.. There's a difference. For all you technology-ignorant bloggers, get a clue. Even Facebook's IPO was flawed by NASDAQ because of technology flaws, not because Facebook was flawed. So, we've applied for the specific policy, received the information on coverage and cost. We haven't paid for it because the payment will be automatically deducted from the bank account or credit card account of your choice. Most of us are listening to the prognosis of the health of the Obamacare website on a DAILY BASIS. When there are fewer glitches to navigate, we'll complete the process, on or before 12/15 to ensure our insurance coverage carries on without lapses as our former insurance policy - too expensive and covering little- expires. The nonsense of "not paying" for it, trainwreck Obamacare, etc. on Fox is sheer propoganda. Everyone I know, and everyone I've encouraged to finally buy insurance is ecstatic that this is available, and we're quite willing to wait until technology catches up policy. Anyone who ever bought an upgrade to Microsoft's Operating System before a million other users reported all the initial errors knows what I'm talking about.


Sukey, moving past the failure of the launch, the rest that is to come will cause the entire Obamacare system to fall apart. Right now, despite some slick rhetoric by Obama, it will not survive. There is overwhelming distrust in this and Obama is doing nothing to assure Americans it will ever work. He is in way over his head and arrogance will not save him this time. Anyone that signs up, especially young people, is a fool as there is no security and widespread fraud is a foregone conclusion. The IRS is in shambles, HHS is in shambles and there are no solutions that will fix this mess. I understand you exuberant support for Obama and anything he does as no one wants to feel their vote exacerbated the problem, but the truth is, this is a huge mistake.

Be Bold 4 I Am

Better coverage and lower premium does not compute. It is a teaser rate. And since when is $46,500 for an individual a huge income?

Nobody was forced to buy Facebook's IPO, just as nobody was forced to buy Microsoft windows. The true techies stuck with Linux, or better yet, use a Mac.

I find it appalling that Obama can issue an executive order to "fix" the problem by allowing you to renew your old plan, yet those that didn't have insurance to begin with are still on the hook to purchase a plan by Dec. 15th, and this only after Bill Clinton and a few Dems coming up for re-election finally stand up for the people they serve.

I find it the true measure of his leadership, or lack thereof, that after spending over $500 million to develop health.gov, he had no idea the website wouldn't work. It is apparent he hasn't a clue what is going on in his administration. Facebook was in business for 6 years before it spent $500 million.


During all the political back and forth that went on in the letters & comments section prior to the 2008 and 2012 elections we seniors and astute conservatives were warning all the fawning liberals to beware of Obama: that Obama was a fraud and a charlatan. We were rebutted with vile, snarky comments.

Forward to November 2013 and our warnings were proven true. Over 20,000 Montanans have been rudely forced off of their health care plans by the Obama administration because as of March 2013 they don't include 10 additional coverages that they don't want or need.

We were sounding the alarm back then , but to no avail, those who voted for Obama the con-man (AKA Barry Soetoro) thought they were smarter and knew better.

Let this be a learning moment.


Spare us the leftist and the Obamanite propaganda. Obama is a pure liar and has been all his life. ObamaCare is a utter disaster, just as many said it would be. It cannot be fixed either. It is a montrosity and could never work, and it also produces more corruption in an already corrupt system.


And the GOP/Republicans have lost their voice to their own Tea-Party Terrorists!


"20,000 Montanans' health insurance 'discontinued' by 'Obamacare" Recent headline in the Missoulian.

Train is off the tracks. Wait until this bites into your family budget because your rates must increase.


I think everyone who gets a health insurance cancellation notice. Should make a copy of it and send it to our wonderful Senators Baucus and Tester. Then send one to the Lier in the White House who promised everyone they could keep their current insurance, IF YOU VOTE FOR ME! Remember in November what our fine reps in Washington did to you. I think they all should be FIRED.

Run - A- Mook

Upon hearing that in the 36 states only 27.000 people have signed up.
Of these only 212 people in Montana, were able to sign up. President
Obama said the following,

" To all of you uninformed voters, you may stay uninformed."


What a sham!

Run - A- Mook

to which President Obama replied

"All of you, who are discussed with me, may stay discussed with me."


You might at least learn to spell! Surely, you meant "disgusted", which is what a lot of us here are with YOU!

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.