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Low numbers in Obamacare enrollment

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Obamacare enrollment numbers are falling short of high expectations.

The White House released data Wednesday on how many people have successfully signed-up for health coverage through President Barack Obama's new Affordable Care Act law.

A total of 106,000 Americas have signed up for Obamacare through the first month of enrollment.

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In Tennessee, 992 people have signed up using the government website. In Mississippi 148 people have signed up and in Arkansas 250 people used Healthcare.gov to sign up for Obamacare.

The numbers are not nearly as high as what White House officials expected. The Obama administration had hoped enrollment numbers would hit around 500,000 within the first month. But after being plagued by website problems, the numbers fell well short of what The White House was hoping for.

Still, the Obama administration is not giving up after the flawed roll out.

Disappointing numbers have not deterred the Obama administration from staying optimistic about the new health care law.

"The fact is, on Nov. 13, we are not where we will be and want to be by Nov. 30," said Jay Carney, White House Press Secretary. "But it remains the case that we believe the site will be working smoothly for the vast majority of users by the end of the month."

Administration officials and senior congressional Democrats expressed confidence in the program's future. "We expect enrollment will grow substantially throughout the next five months," said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who is in overall charge.

"Even with the issues we've had, the marketplace is working and people are enrolling," Sebelius said. Responding to GOP critics, she said the first premiums are not due until Dec. 15.

The online, state-level insurance markets were envisioned as the new portal to coverage for people who don't have health plans on the job. But the federal market was overwhelmed by technical problems when it opened Oct. 1, and the experience of state-run markets has been mixed.

The administration said an additional 1 million individuals have been found eligible to buy coverage on the markets, with about one-third qualifying for tax credits to reduce their premiums. Another 396,000 have been found eligible for Medicaid, the safety-net program that is shaping up as the health care law's early success story.

Only 27,000 Americans were able to sign up for health care on the faulty federal website Healthcare.gov. According to the Department of Health and Human Services report, 992 people in Tennessee selected a marketplace plan successfully online.  

But as more people look to sign up, some experts are questioning the website's security, saying it's not 100-percent safe.

"This is a disaster for administration and more of a disaster if people are stealing people's personal data and exploiting it for identity theft," said U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas).

Still, the Obama administration maintains Healthcare.gov is secure.

"CMS committed to creating safe, secure, resilient IT system that allows it to expand quality health care coverage," said Henry Chao, CMS Office of Information Services.

Congressman McCaul told Fox News in a live interview Wednesday more than 500 fake websites have popped up, trying to scam people shopping for healthcare. Many of those websites are using different variations of Obamacare or health care in the URL.

Experts say, for security purposes, you should never click on links received in e-mails, even if it appears to be from a legitimate source. You should always type in the website yourself.

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