- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 12, 2014

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Federal health officials say 4,000 more people signed up for health insurance plans in February through the new online marketplace.

That brings the total number to 22,500 Montana residents insured since the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchanges began in October.

Lee Newspapers of Montana reports about 2.25 percent of the state’s population had chosen a health-insurance policy as of March 1 through the exchange run by the federal government.

That is higher than the national average of 1.33 percent. About 4.2 million people nationwide have chosen insurance plans through the exchanges.

The deadline for those without health insurance is March 31. After that, most people still without insurance will face a tax penalty.

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