- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 11, 2014

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia continues to lag behind the rest of the country in the number of younger people enrolled in health insurance through the federal marketplace.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Tuesday that as of March 1, 18 percent of those signed up through the federal exchange in West Virginia were ages 18 to 34.

That’s only a slight improvement from a month earlier and ties West Virginia with Oregon for the lowest percent of signups from that age group. Arizona, Hawaii and Maine were at 19 percent. The national average for that age group is 25 percent.

Among all age groups, enrollment in West Virginia’s health insurance marketplace has risen to about 10,600. That’s far below the government’s projection of 19,200 by Feb. 28. Only seven other states had fewer people who had selected a marketplace plan.

Nearly six in 10 of those enrolled in West Virginia are female.

Open enrollment in the marketplace and the state’s expanded Medicaid program began Oct. 1 and will continue through March 31.

About 4.2 million have signed up nationally. The government projected 5.65 million by Feb. 28 and 6 million by March 31.

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