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Public health insurance exchange enrollments top 6 million


Enrollment in public health insurance exchanges continues to surge, with enrollments crossing the 6 million mark, a top federal health care regulator said Thursday.

“As this historic open enrollment enters its final days, more than 6 million Americans have signed up for coverage through” the exchanges, Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, wrote in a blog posting.

If enrollment continues to jump in the last few days before open enrollment ends March 31, it could exceed by a wide margin the 6 million estimate made earlier by the Congressional Budget Office.

The current enrollment figures illustrate how exchange enrollment has swelled in recent weeks. On March 1, the Department of Health and Human Services said 4.2 million people had enrolled in the exchanges, which were authorized by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Then, just two weeks later, Ms. Travenner said enrollment topped 5 million.

While enrollment is surging, it isn't known what impact it will have on reducing the number of uninsured. That is because the administration hasn't disclosed how many of the exchange plan enrollees were previously uninsured. A group of congressional Republicans now are trying to get that information from insurers providing coverage in the exchanges.

In 2012, about 48 million Americans were uninsured, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.