- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 16, 2015

At least 4.1 million people have selected a 2016 health plan on HealthCare.gov, according to an Obamacare update released Wednesday that says more than 1 million people signed up in the last week alone.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says 1.3 million people signed up between Dec. 6 and Dec. 12, reflecting increased activity on the federal website serving 38 states as the Dec. 15 deadline to get covered in time for Jan. 1 approached.

The administration late Tuesday granted last-minute customers an extra two days to select a plan on HealthCare.gov and be covered in time for the new year, citing heavy traffic on the web and at its call center.

The overall, 4.1 million figure accounts for signups between Nov. 1 and Dec. 12, meaning it did not capture this week’s rush to enroll.

“The unprecedented demand over the last several days continues to show that coverage through HealthCare.gov is something millions of Americans want and need,” Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said. “We urge those who left their names with the Marketplace to come back to Healthcare.gov or the call center and complete their application for coverage starting January 1.”

HealthCare.gov customers can now sign up through 11:59 p.m. Thursday, Pacific time and still have a policy that takes effect by the start of 2016, when the baseline Obamacare tax for those without coverage will more than double from $325 to $695.

States such as New York and Minnesota had already announced similar extensions on their state-run exchanges, where users can shop for private plans and qualify for government subsidies that make their monthly premium bills more affordable.

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