More than 106,000 choose health plans under Affordable Care Act

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More than 106,000 Americans selected health plans in the first reporting period of open enrollment for the new health insurance marketplace, according to data released Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services.

California represents about a third of that enrollment: 35,364 people signed up for a plan through the state's own health insurance exchange, Covered California.

The report breaks down enrollment in each state by number of applications, number of individuals seeking coverage, and other key metrics, but California's data notably does not reveal how many people were eligible for financial assistance.

California Enrollment by the numbers  
Total Number of Completed Applications 105,782
Total Individuals Applying for Coverage in Completed Applications 192,489
Total Eligible to Enroll in a Marketplace Plan 93,663
Eligible to Enroll in a Marketplace Plan with Financial Assistance N/A
Determined or Assessed Eligible for Medicaid / CHIP by the Marketplace 79,519
Pending/Other 19,307
Number of Individuals Who Have Selected a Marketplace Plan 35,364

Source: Department of Health and Human Services

The report highlights how few people have actually managed to use the federal HealthCare.gov site to select a plan: 27,000 people nationwide. The overall number includes enrollments made via federal and state marketplaces from Oct. 1 to Nov. 2, the agency says.

RELATED: Everything you need to know about enrolling in California

"To date, 106,185 persons have selected a Marketplace plan—this includes 79,391 in SBMs and 26,794 in FFM," according to the report. "An additional 975,407 persons who have been determined eligible have not yet selected a plan through the Marketplace."

The means less than a quarter of that figure represents people who selected plans through the federal site. The total number is also only "about 20 percent of the government's October target," as NPR's Scott Horsley reports for our Newscast unit.

Health and Human Services officials say they're optimistic about future growth.

"The promise of quality, affordable coverage is increasingly becoming reality for this first wave of applicants to the Health Insurance Marketplaces," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement accompanying the release.

"We expect enrollment will grow substantially throughout the next five months," she added, noting strong interest in the plans and promising more improvements to the federal HealthCare.gov website.

The report highlights four numbers:

  • 846,184 applications have been completed.
  • 1,509,883 people are included in completed applications.
  • 396,261 individuals have been determined or assessed eligible for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program.
  • 106,185 people have selected insurance plans for 2014.

The timing of the data's release came as something of a surprise; officials had said the data would not be released until later this week. It came on the same day Rep. Darrell Issa led a House Oversight committee hearing on the problems that plagued the HealthCare.gov site and the effort to improve it.

The report also included statistics on traffic to marketplace websites, citing 26,876,527 unique visitors to state and federal websites. And 3,158,436 people got in touch with state and federal call centers that were set up to help people navigate the system created by the Affordable Care Act, according to HHS.

The agency notes that the 106,185 figure "is 1.5 percent of the estimated enrollees at the end of the 2014 open enrollment period," citing a Congressional Budget Office estimate from May.

Health and Human Services Report

This story has been updated.

With contributions by KPCC staff

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