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Public health insurance exchange enrollment tops 3 million


After a slow start, enrollment in public health insurance exchanges is surging and this week crossed the 3 million mark, federal regulators said Friday.

“The most recent data indicates that approximately 3 million people have now enrolled in a private health insurance plan through the federal and state-based marketplaces since Oct. 1,” Marilyn Tavenner, administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said in a statement.

Exchange enrollment has leaped by more than 800,000 in about three weeks. In its last comprehensive report, the Department of Health and Human Services said that 2,153,421 individuals had enrolled as of Dec. 28, which was close to six times more than the 364,682 individuals who had enrolled through the end of November.

The continuing surge in enrollment illustrates both the demand for coverage and the progress HHS has made in overcoming the difficulties potential enrollees faced in October and much of November in trying to sign up for coverage online.

While HHS did not break out enrollment in states running their own exchanges from enrollment in states where the federal government operates exchanges, some states have independently reported big gains this month.

For example, in California, whose exchange is the largest of the state exchanges authorized under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, about 625,000 state residents were enrolled as of Jan. 15, up from just over 500,000 on Dec. 31.