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Federal health insurance exchange signs up 1.6 million since Nov.1


More than 1.6 million individuals signed up for health insurance plans through the federal exchange during the first three weeks of enrollment, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reported Wednesday.

Of the 1,645,698 individuals who selected exchange coverage between Nov. 1 and Nov. 21 just over one-third — 567,822— opted for coverage between Nov. 15 and Nov. 21.

Of those opting for coverage in the 38 states in which the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services operates the exchanges, 35% selected exchange coverage for the first time, and 65% were renewing coverage.

Enrollment in the federal exchange is up slightly compared to a year ago, when nearly 1.4 million individuals had signed up for coverage by the end of third week. However, last year, the federal exchange was available to individuals in 37 states, compared to 38 states during the current open season. Hawaii officials decided earlier this year to shift enrollment to the federal exchange.

HHS also reported that its call center received nearly 2.4 million calls from Nov. 1 through Nov. 21with an average wait time of 4 minutes and 20 seconds.

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