|By The Associated Press|
Huge disparities are emerging in how well states are living up to federal enrollment targets, and that will help determine if the
Six Republican-led states -
The administration said Wednesday about 1 million people signed up for private insurance under the health law in January, extending a turnaround from early days when a dysfunctional website frustrated consumers.
January marked the first time since the markets opened last fall that a national monthly enrollment target was met.
All in all, from
"It's very, very encouraging news," said Health and Human Services Secretary
Also, officials are unable to say how many of those who signed up were previously uninsured - the ultimate test of Obama's hard- fought overhaul. And they don't know how many have sealed the deal by paying their premiums.
The numbers showed an uptick in the number of young adults signing up, now 25 percent of the total. Officials expect a last- minute surge of 18- to 34-year-olds before the end of open enrollment on
Overall, 4 in 5 of those signing up were eligible for financial assistance with their premiums or out-of-pocket expenses.
"Enrollment will continue to increase because it's easier to sign up," said
While the national numbers are improving, the latest report raises questions about what's going on in the states. Ultimately Obama's law will play out differently in each state, since insurance premiums are set at the local level.
The AP's analysis compared the latest cumulative sign-up numbers for each state with targets spelled out in a
In the memo, HHS experts projected that 4.4 million people would have signed up by the end of January. But that was before the disastrous launch of the federal enrollment website on
Nationally, the nearly 3.3 million enrolled represent 75 percent of the sign-ups that HHS had originally hoped to have by the end of January.
Among the states meeting or exceeding expectations,
Blewett said the federal website appears to be outperforming portals run by the states. States where the feds are in charge met 80 percent of their enrollment targets, compared with 70 percent for states running their own insurance markets.
Surprisingly, the worst performers include four jurisdictions where Obama's law has strong support:
"Maybe it's time for the feds to send some SWAT teams and resources and help turn the corner on technological glitches," said Blewett.
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