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Jerry Geisel

Public health insurance exchange enrollment triples: HHS

December 11, 2013 - 10:08am

Kathleen Sebelius

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Wednesday, Dec. 11, before the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on the implementation failures of the Affordable Care Act. Playing catch-up with a long way to go, President Barack Obama's new health insurance markets last month picked up the dismal pace of signups, the administration reported Wednesday.

More than 364,000 people enrolled in health insurance plans offered through public exchanges through November, the Department of Health and Health Services said Wednesday.

The 364,682 individuals who enrolled through November is more than triple the 106,185 U.S. residents who enrolled through October, a period when HHS had huge difficulties with its website,, the primary way potential enrollees are expected to select and enroll in plans in states where the federal government is operating exchanges.

Those difficulties, which included website crashes and long waiting periods for potential enrollees, have eased in recent weeks.

Of those enrollees, 62%, or 227,478, opted for coverage in exchanges run by states. Just 137,204 individuals selected plans in the 36 states in which the federal government operates the exchanges because those states declined to do so, or in states in which HHS operates the exchanges in partnerships with those states.

Federal officials said they expect health plan enrollment through exchanges, which were authorized by the health care reform law, to continue to grow.

“Evidence of the technical improvements to can be seen in the enrollment numbers. More and more Americans are finding that quality, affordable coverage is within reach and that they'll no longer need to worry about barriers they may have faced in the past — like being denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement.

Those enrollment figures compare with roughly 17 million people who the Kaiser Family Foundation previously estimated are eligible to use premium subsidies to purchase coverage in exchanges.

Among states that are running their own exchanges and have reported enrollment information, California had the most enrollees at 107,087, followed by New York with 45,513.

In states where the federal government runs exchanges, Florida had the most enrollees with 17,908, followed by Texas with 14,308.