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4.2 Million Now Enrolled with Key Deadline Looming


More than 4.2 million Americans have signed up for insurance on healthcare marketplaces created by the new health law, white house officials announced Tuesday.

Over 940,000 people enrolled in coverage in February alone and with less than a month remaining in the enrollment period, officials expect the rate of sign-ups to increase between now and the March 31 deadline for coverage this year.

California continues to sign up the greatest number of American’s in the first five months of enrollment, with nearly 869,000 people registered for a health plan through the state’s health marketplace. Florida, which is among 36 states relying on the federal government to run their exchanges, was second with over 442,000 enrollments.  Texas, New York, North Carolina and Michigan were the next largest.

“Now, during this final month of open enrollment, our message to the American people is this,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said. “You still have time to get covered, but you’ll want to sign up today.”

The state-based marketplaces enable Americans who do not get coverage at work to select among plans that offer at least a basic set of benefits. The plans cannot turn away sick people. Consumers who make less than four times the federal poverty level, or about $94,000 for a family of four, qualify for government subsidies to offset the cost of their premiums.

It remains unclear how many of the people signing up for coverage were previously uninsured, however a new survey indicates that the share of Americans without insurance dropped in the first two months of 2014 to 15.9%, down from 17.1% in the last three months of 2013, according to a survey of 28,000 Americans by Gallup. The increase in coverage was greatest among families with incomes below $36,000 a year.

More than 4 in 5 of the people signing up for coverage are qualifying for subsidies, according to the new Obama administration enrollment report.

Open enrollment ends March 31, 2014 and those who do not sign up before then will have to pay a tax penalty at the end of the year.

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