Nearly 3.3 million people enrolled in health insurance plans offered through public exchanges as of Feb. 1, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday.
The number of people enrolled at the beginning of the month is up more than 50% compared to the nearly 2.2 million people who had enrolled through Dec. 28 and the nearly 365,000 people enrolled through the end of November in the healthcare.gov website. 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.
“These encouraging trends show that more Americans are enrolling every day and finding quality, affordable coverage” in the exchanges, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement.
Still, exchange enrollment will have to grow significantly to meet earlier projections. For example, the Congressional Budget Office recently projected that public exchanges would provide coverage to 6 million individuals this year.
Of those who have enrolled, roughly 41% opted for coverage in exchanges run by states while 59% selected plans in the 36 states where the federal government operates the exchanges because those states declined to do so, or in states in which HHS operates the exchanges in partnership with them.
Among states running their own exchanges that have reported enrollment, California had the most enrollees with 728,086 as of Feb. 1, followed by New York with 211,290.
In states where the federal government runs exchanges, Florida had the most enrollees with 296,892, followed by Texas with 207,546.
HHS also reported that about 27% of people who enrolled from Dec. 29 to Feb. 1 were 18 to 34 years old. That's up three percentage points compared with the first three months of enrollment.
The HHS report also said 82% of people who selected a plan from Dec. 29 to Feb. 1 had incomes low enough to qualify for federal premium subsidies, up from 79% during the Oct. 1-Dec. 28, 2013, reporting period.