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107,000 enroll in health coverage in California

Posted: December 11, 2013 2:27 p.m.
Updated: December 11, 2013 2:27 p.m.

In this photo taken Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, the state's health insurance exchange, discusses enrollment numbers during a news conference in Sacramento, Calif.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — More than 107,000 Californians have enrolled for coverage through Nov. 30 under the state's health insurance exchange, according to figures released Wednesday by the federal Health and Human Services Department.

Highly populated California leads the nation in sign-ups among all states, including those running their own exchanges and those in which the federal government controls the marketplace under the Affordable Care Act. But the 107,000 enrollments fall short of federal projections made before the insurance exchange website launched in October. Then, 221,000 enrollments were forecast for California by Nov. 30.

In all, Wednesday's figures show that nearly 226,000 applicants have been found eligible to enroll via California's health marketplace, with about 70 percent qualifying for financial assistance.

The enrollment figures include people who have selected health plans but might not have paid their insurance premiums yet. People who want insurance to start in the new year have until Dec. 23 to enroll and must pay their premiums by Dec. 31.

Covered California, the agency that runs the state exchange, said this week that it also had a backlog of about 25,000 paper applications that must be processed by Dec. 23. Officials said the agency has hired additional staff members and redirected others to enter the data, which takes about 45 minutes per application.

The paper applications were filed in the first days after the website went live on Oct. 1, when some individuals and insurance agents were unable to apply online and were told by Covered California to instead submit their applications by fax or mail.


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