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Enrollment soars in federal health exchange

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Nearly 8.6 million individuals signed up for health insurance plans through the federal exchange during the 2015 open enrollment season, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported Wednesday.

Of those 8.6 million individuals who selected federal exchange coverage between Nov. 15 — the start of 2015 open enrollment — and Feb. 15, the close of the official open enrollment, just over 1 million individuals opted for coverage from Feb. 7 through Feb. 15. The federal exchange offers coverage in the 37 states that decided not to establish public health insurance exchanges.

In addition, HHS said 2.8 million individuals selected plans in the exchanges offered by 13 states and the District of Columbia during the 2015 open season. That brought to 11.4 million the number of people opting for coverage in the 2015 open season in plans offered through the health care reform law-created exchanges.

HHS also disclosed plan selections through Feb. 15 by individuals in the 37 states in which the federal exchange is available.

Of those states, Florida had the most sign-ups for coverage over the last 13 weeks with 1,600,006, followed by Texas with 1,189,316, North Carolina with 559,473, Georgia with 536,929 and Pennsylvania with 471,939.

At the other end, North Dakota had the fewest number of individuals who selected plans with 18,125, followed by Alaska with 20,897, Wyoming with 21,148 and South Dakota with 21,183.