It’s also a good idea for journalists to take time and parse the numbers rolling in from the states. We won’t know for several months whether those signing up are the young healthy folks everyone wants in the pool, or the very sick who need insurance ASAP. The mix of applicants is as important as the numbers. And what are they buying—the cheaper bronze and silver plans or the ones offering better coverage? So when some exchange official announces the numbers, more questions are in order.

Related content:

Untangling Obamacare: Shopping the insurance exchanges

Untangling Obamacare: The affordability puzzle

Five threads reporters missed on Obamacare

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Trudy Lieberman is a fellow at the Center for Advancing Health and a longtime contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review. She is the lead writer for The Second Opinion, CJR’s healthcare desk, which is part of our United States Project on the coverage of politics and policy. Follow her on Twitter @Trudy_Lieberman.