- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 17, 2014

California, the nation’s most populous state and a major contributor of Obamacare enrollees, announcedWednesday it added 144,000 customers to its insurance marketplace in the first month of sign-ups this year.

The statistics from Covered California do not include returning customers who renewed coverage or switch plans. Those enrollees will be incorporated into figures released in January, an exchange spokesman said.

“We saw tremendous momentum during the first month of open enrollment, with more than 25,000 people completing enrollment on Monday alone,” Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee said. 

California embraced President Obama’s health reforms from the start and is among 13 states — plus the District of Columbia — that are running their own health exchanges instead of relying on the federal exchange known as HealthCare.gov. 

Last year, more than 1 million people signed up for exchange coverage in the Golden State.

First-month enrollment in California this time around exceeded the first two months of activity last year— 144,178 plan selections from Nov. 15 to Dec. 15, compared to 109,296 plan selections from Oct. 1, 2013, to Nov. 30, 2013. 

Elsewhere, the Obama administration said Tuesday that nearly 2.5 million people in 37 states had selected a health plan on the federal exchange through Friday, and that slightly less than half were new customers. 

However, the exchange likely added a throng of enrollees in the three days leading up to Monday’sdeadline to gain coverage in time for Jan. 1.

Figures rolling in from the state-run exchanges provide a fuller picture of enrollment and whether the administration will hit its revised goal of 9.1 million enrollees, nationwide, in 2015.

Minnesota’s state-run exchange said Wednesday that 23,797 residents had selected private plans since enrollment began in mid-November.

“However, our goal remains to get every Minnesotan covered,” MNSure CEO Scott Leitz said. “Five percent of Minnesotans still need health insurance, and we will continue to do all we can to make that happen throughout open enrollment and beyond.”

Citing high demand, MNsure said Monday it would give customers until Saturday afternoon to select coverage that begins Jan. 1.

California also said people who made a good-faith effort to sign up by Monday would have until Sundayto finish up.


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