States See Huge Increase in Healthcare Sign up

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WASHINGTON – States with their own well-running health insurance exchanges reported Wednesday an increase of 30 percent to 40 percent in enrollments from last week to this week.

“We’re seeing huge interest,” said Peter Lee, director of California’s exchange, during a conference call sponsored by Families USA, a health care advocacy group that supports the Affordable Care Act.

Six months ago, “no American knew about” the state exchanges.

In the first week of December, 50,000 people signed up for insurance in California.

Last week, 15,000 people were signing up every day, Lee said. He expects the interest to increase as local organizations, such as libraries or even cities, launch their own campaigns to encourage people to buy health insurance.

Lee and other officials in states that have expanded Medicaid coverage and spent millions promoting their exchanges said they are seeing an increasing diversity among the people buying insurance and the types they are purchasing.

The numbers show interest in buying insurance is increasing after the initial problems that hurt the site when it launched Oct. 1, said Ron Pollack, the founding executive director of Families USA. States that are doing well, he said, can share how they succeeded with other states and the federal government.

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