Obamacare Sign-Ups Top 1 Million After Strong Second Week

  • 534,778 people enrolled in plans during week ending Nov. 14
  • Two-thirds of enrollees this year are renewing their coverage

More than half a million people signed up for Obamacare health-insurance plans during the second week of enrollment for 2016 coverage, a faster start than last year.

The U.S. said 534,778 people picked plans through U.S.-run marketplaces during the week that ended Nov. 14, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs the healthcare.gov sign-up website. About 300,000 individuals picked health plans in the second week of sign-ups last year, though that period included the Thanksgiving holiday.

That brings the total signed up for 2016 coverage to about 1.1 million, the government said in a statement, after 543,098 signed up during the first week. So far, two-thirds of the people who have enrolled this year are renewing policies. The split between renewals and new purchasers was about half-and-half at this point in time in 2014.

The U.S. has said it hopes to have about 10 million people enrolled in individual marketplace plans by the end of next year, up from a 2015 year-end projection of 9.1 million. Obamacare, formally known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, set up marketplaces to buy coverage and offers some people subsidies to help them afford it.

The deadline to sign up for policies that take effect on Jan. 1 is Dec. 15, and the last day to pick a 2016 policy is Jan. 31. The sign-up figures released Wednesday are for the 38 states that use the federal government’s healthcare.gov website. They don’t include people in states like California and New York, which run their own health-insurance shopping websites.

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