- The Washington Times - Monday, December 30, 2013

The Obama administration says more than 1 million people have signed up for private insurance through the federal marketplace, a December-heavy surge in enrollment following the disastrous launch of HealthCare.gov that began in October and bled into November.

“December enrollment so far is over 7 times that of October and November,” said Marilyn Tavenner, administration of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, in a blog post on Sunday. “In part, this was because we met our marks on improving HealthCare.gov: The site supported 83,000 concurrent users on December 23rd alone.”

The surge in enrollment — 975,000 sign-ups in December alone — was also due to a rush to secure coverage in time for the new year. Some Americans faced a potential coverage gap post-Jan. 1, after losing plans that did not meet Obamacare’s coverage requirements.

The 1-million milestone is good news for the administration, and it does not include the hundreds of thousands who have enrolled in the 15 state-run portals, as of last count.

But the tally lags behind the pace needed to grab an estimated 7 million enrolled in private coverage byMarch 31, the last day of open enrollment.

Mrs. Tavenner said that’s not a problem just yet.

“We are in the middle of a sustained, six-month open enrollment period that we expect to see enrollment ramp up over time, much like other historic implementation efforts we’ve seen in Massachusetts and Medicare Part D,” she said.