- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 27, 2015

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Nearly 38 percent more Missouri residents than last year have signed up health care insurance so far under the federal exchange, according to data released Tuesday.

About 209,336 residents signed up for coverage as of Jan. 16. U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell and St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay touted the numbers during a phone conference with reporters, saying they represent about 57,000 additional covered Missourians compared with the entire first enrollment period last year. The total number of enrollees could grow in the coming weeks before the open enrollment deadline on Feb. 15.

Re-enrollees account for 59 percent of those who have signed up, and 41 percent are new to the federal insurance exchange.

President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act set up the marketplaces to help families and individuals find insurance. Enrollment was rocky because of technological issues when the exchange first launched in 2013.

Among the people who’ve signed up so far this year, about 88 percent will receive financial assistance.

St. Louis resident LaDonna Appelbaum told reporters Tuesday that she signed up for coverage through the marketplace months before doctors diagnosed her with stage 3 breast cancer. Her husband also injured his hand in a boating accident months after enrolling.

If they didn’t receive tax credits to subsidize the cost of insurance, “we would struggle,” Appelbaum said.

Total enrollment through the middle of January in the 37 states served by HealthCare.gov is about 7.1 million people. At least another 2.4 million signed up in states running their own exchanges.


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