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Total signed up for health plans at 4.2M

WASHINGTON — With less than a month remaining in the first enrollment period, more than 4.2 million Americans have signed up for health insurance on marketplaces created by President Barack Obama's health law, administration officials announced Tuesday.

The new enrollment report confirms that the administration and its allies will probably fall short of the 7 million signups they had hoped to get for 2014.

The report also shows that insurance signups continued to recover in February from the disastrous launch of the federal healthcare.gov website. More than 940,000 people enrolled in coverage in February, down from 1.1 million in January.

Based on the experience of other programs, officials expect the rate of signups to accelerate between now and the March 31 deadline for enrolling in coverage this year.

The signup figures overstate actual enrollment, however, as many consumers have not paid their insurance bills. Administration officials have not released figures on the number of paid premiums. Some insurers have reported that as many as one in five consumers have not yet paid.

California continues to lead all states through the first five months of enrollment, with nearly 869,000 people signed up for a health plan through the state's marketplace, Covered California.

Florida, which is among 36 states that are relying on the federal government to run their marketplaces this year, was second with more than 440,000 signups.

More than four in five of the people signing up for coverage are qualifying for subsidies, according to the new enrollment report.

Many are also older, with just 27 percent of those who signed up in February in the coveted 18-34 age bracket, well below the 40 percent target administration officials have set. Young, healthy consumers are considered crucial to the long-term sustainability of the insurance marketplaces because they help balance risk, keeping insurance premiums in check.

Total signed up for health plans at 4.2M 03/11/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 12:03am]
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