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More than 11.2 million individuals so far have signed up for health insurance plans through the federal and state exchanges during the 2016 open enrollment season, with enrollment far ahead of last year's pace, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported Thursday.
Of those 11.23 million individuals who selected exchange coverage from the Nov. 1 start of the 2016 open enrollment season and generally through Dec. 26, just over 75%, or 8.52 million, did so in the 38 states in which health plans are offered through the federal exchange. In addition, 2.73 million people chose plans in the 13 states, including the District of Columbia, with their own exchanges.
“We're seeing unprecedented demand for marketplace coverage,” HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell said in a statement. Marketplace is the government term for the public exchanges, which were authorized by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
The selection of plans in the federal and state exchanges by more than 11.2 million people far exceeds enrollment during roughly the same period in the 2015. During the first nine weeks of the 2015 open enrollment period, 9.54 million people had selected coverage through the exchanges.
Of states with their own exchanges, California had the highest number of individuals who have selected a plan so far during the 2016 open enrollment season with 1,411,664. It was followed by New York with 265,772, Massachusetts with 196,647 and the state of Washington with 171,045. At the other end of the spectrum, the District of Columbia had the fewest number of individuals who selected health plans at 19,299, followed by Vermont, 28,258, and Rhode Island, 33,896.
Of states in which the federal government runs the exchanges, Florida, had the most signups for coverage over the eight weeks with 1,556,561, followed by Texas, 1,096,868, North Carolina, 553,729 and Georgia, 511,826. At other end, Hawaii had the fewest number of individuals who selected plans with 11,157 enrollees, followed by North Dakota at 19,729 and Wyoming, 20,707.
Federal health exchange plans have largely proved unprofitable for most health insurers, but new underwriting data could help reverse the trend, according to insurance credit analysts.