- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 3, 2014

About 765,000 people have chosen a private health plan on the federal Obamacare marketplace since year-two enrollment began on Nov. 15, the Obama administration reported Wednesday.

Roughly half of the customers shopped on the exchange known as HealthCare.gov for the first time, while the others are returning customers who selected a plan last year and have re-enrolled or shopped for a new plan, according to data released by the Health and Human Services Department for Nov. 15-28.

The administration is releasing weekly “snapshots” on federal exchange usage in addition to its official monthly enrollment reports.

Open enrollment lasts until Feb. 15, although customers must choose a plan by Dec. 15 to hold coverage in time for the new year.

“The first deadline is just a couple of weeks away on Dec. 15,” HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said. “We’re encouraging everyone who is already covered through the Marketplace to come back and shop because there could be savings. And for those who are thinking about getting health coverage, take a look at your options — most consumers qualify for financial help.”

Earlier this year, the administration estimated that roughly 9.1. million people would hold coverage from a federal or state-run Obamacare exchange in 2015 — far short of congressional budget estimates of 13 million.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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