That ruckus you didn’t hear over the weekend was the sound of Obamacare online marketplaces not failing to work. Healthcare.gov went fully operational in the wee hours of early Saturday morning, without technical difficulties, and most of the state marketplaces did too—although California and Washington state had some glitches. By the time Saturday was over, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell reported, more than 1,000,000 people had shopped for coverage on healthcare.gov and more than 100,000 people had successfully completed applications to buy insurance.
That’s a nearly 1.7 million percent increase over last year’s day one performance, when just six people were able to complete an application on the non-functional website. Yay!
The price of the second-cheapest silver plans, which the law treats as a benchmark, also went up very slowly. Health insurance premiums go up almost every year, just because of inflation and ever-improving technology, so modest hikes like these are good news. Even better news is the fact that, in some markets, the price of the benchmark silver plan has actuallydeclined—something that almost never happens health care. As Larry Levitt, senior vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, observed earlier this year when such changes first became apparent, that’s like “defying the laws of physics.”