- Associated Press - Thursday, May 1, 2014

DETROIT (AP) - Nearly 273,000 Michigan residents chose private insurance plans under the federal health care law, exceeding initial projections by more than 100,000, federal officials said Thursday.

The final tally of 272,539 for the state far exceeded President Barack Obama’s administration’s original goal of 161,000 enrollees. However, the figures released through the Health and Human Services Department also show 468,000 Michigan residents eligible to enroll.

More than 8 million people have signed up nationally by the March 31 deadline, representing about 59 percent of eligible people and similar to Michigan’s percentage.

The state mirrored a national enrollment surge since March 1, when about 145,000 Michigan residents had signed up. About 54 percent of those enrolled in Michigan are women and 46 percent are men. The state’s 55-to-64-year-old age group had the highest percentage enrollment at 27 percent, but those 18-34 - a combination of two groups - represented 29 percent.

About 87 percent in the state enrolled with financial assistance.

Michigan also broke out its enrollment statistics by ethnicity and race, but the report said the state’s number of unknown is over 35 percent - among the highest in the country.

Nearly 200,000 state residents have also enrolled in expanded Medicaid coverage through the Healthy Michigan Plan.

“The first open enrollment period was historic and consumers proved to be hungry for the new coverage options,” said Erin Knott, state director of Get Covered America, a national campaign focused on educating consumers about health coverage and insurance options available under the Affordable Care Act.

The new report didn’t include information on how many of the newly enrolled have actually paid their insurance premiums. With grace periods for enrolling extending into mid-April, many who have signed up weren’t obligated to pay until this week.

Even though the administration is claiming huge successes, the Congressional Budget Office projects more than 40 million people will still be uninsured this year, and a more complete picture of who’s still uninsured won’t emerge until next year with the first results from large national surveys.

The official enrollment period ended March 31, but people can keep signing up for marketplace plans throughout the year if they qualify for one of the special exceptions, which range from a change in family circumstances to computer issues that kept them from enrolling.

The next enrollment period for private health insurance coverage for 2015 under the health law is scheduled to run Nov. 15 through Feb. 15.