- Associated Press - Monday, January 13, 2014

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - More than 14,000 Nebraska residents have successfully chosen a health insurance plan out of nearly 43,000 who applied as part of the federal health care law, according to new federal enrollment data.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported Monday that nearly 2.2 million people nationally have selected plans between the opening on the marketplace on Oct. 1 and Dec. 28. Last month accounted for nearly 1.8 million enrollees in the state and federal marketplaces.

The report says females in Nebraska accounted for roughly 54 percent of the applicants who have selected a plan, and 46 percent are male. Nearly one-third of the applicants are between 55 and 64 years old. About 18 percent were age 25 or younger, and 17 percent were between 26 and 34 years old. Fifteen percent were between ages 35 and 44, and 19 percent were between 45 and 54 years old.

Nebraska is one of 36 states that are relying on the federal website to enroll residents in the health marketplace, which is part of the federal health care law. Gov. Dave Heineman rejected a state-run marketplace as too expensive and inflexible.

Two groups in the state - Community Action of Nebraska and the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska - have received federal grants to hire and train insurance “navigators” who will work to draw people into the marketplace and walk them through the process. People also could sign up through the website, hospitals, private insurance agents, or federally funded health care clinics, or use the website on their own.