- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 13, 2016

About 8.7 million customers had selected a plan on the federal HealthCare.gov exchange as of Jan. 9, according to a government update Wednesday that showed only a slight uptick in consumer interest between crucial deadlines to get covered under Obamacare in 2016.

The Health and Human Services Department said about 74,000 customers selected a plan between Jan. 3 and Jan. 9 on the federal portal that serves 38 states. The web-based exchange allows consumers can compare plans and qualify for government subsidies that make monthly bill more affordable.

Last week, HHS reported that 11.3 million customers had selected plans nationwide — roughly 8.6 million from HealthCare.gov and 2.7 million from exchanges run by 12 states and D.C.

HHS said end-of-year demand drove the tally, which could give the administration enough of a cushion to reach its goal of 10 million paying customers by the end of 2016, since open enrollment does not conclude until Jan. 31.

Customers must pay their first month’s premiums to effectuate coverage, however, and enrollment may drop off for nonpayment or other reasons throughout the year.



The administration is trumpeting two upcoming deadlines to get covered in the new year.

Friday is the last day to get coverage by Feb. 1, while Jan. 31 is the final day to enroll in 2016 coverage unless someone experiences a major life event and qualifies for a special enrollment period.

“We saw unprecedented demand for Jan. 1 coverage and continue to make steady progress signing up new customers as open enrollment proceeds,” HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said.

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