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California health exchange enrollment continues to surge


Enrollment in California's health insurance exchange, the largest public exchange authorized under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, continues to soar.

As of early Sunday morning, enrollment in the exchange, known as Covered California, hit 1,209,791, an enrollment increase of nearly 200,000 in two weeks and nearly double compared to the 625,000 enrollees as of Jan. 15.

“We've set records on accounts created five of the past six days,” Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee said in a statement Monday.

The California exchange is by far the largest of the exchanges authorized by the health care reform law. As of March 1, the Florida health insurance exchange, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, was the second-largest exchange with 442,087 enrollees.

Last week Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said exchange enrollment nationwide topped 6 million, while White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Monday — the end of the 2014 open enrollment period — that “we're looking at a number substantially larger than 6 million people enrolled.”

Earlier, the Congressional Budget Office projected that 6 million Americans would enroll by March 31, the end of the 2014 open enrollment period.

However, both the federal government, which administers exchanges in 36 states, as well as some state exchanges, said individuals who tried to enroll by March 31 but didn't complete the process would be given additional time, which will further boost enrollment numbers.

For example, in California, individuals who started an online application by 11:59 p.m. on March 31, will have until 11:59 p.m. April 15, to complete enrollment.