More than 670,000 Floridians have signed up for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act for 2015, the most of any state using the federal marketplace, according to federal data released Tuesday.
And 94 percent of Florida residents who bought insurance will receive financial assistance from the government, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced.
The federal data track the number of sign-ups during the first month of open enrollment for the law popularly known as Obamacare.
In 2013, as a glitchy healthcare.gov website prevented people around the nation from selecting a plan, fewer than 18,000 Florida residents successfully signed up during the first two months of enrollment.
“We’re pleased that in Florida 673,255 people signed up for Marketplace coverage during the first month of open enrollment,” said HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell in a press release. “We still have a ways to go... but this is an encouraging start.”
Enrollment opened Nov. 15 and ends Feb. 15
About half of the people who enrolled in Florida are signing up for the first time. The other half are returning customers who also had coverage under the health law in 2014.
Florida led the nation in the number of people signing up so far this year in the 37 states using the federal exchange at healthcare.gov. North Carolina was number two with more than 249,000 consumers signing up.
Some big states, including California and New York, have established their own state-based marketplaces. Florida is the biggest state using the federal exchange.
Nearly a million Floridians signed up for health coverage for 2014.
Consumer advocates said the state would exceed that number by the end of this year’s enrollment.
“We’ve seen steady traffic at our enrollment events,” said Nick Duran, state director for Enroll America, a nonprofit that advocates for people to sign up for coverage under the health law.
Duran expects a “surge” of consumer interest as the deadline to sign up approaches. “Last year we saw that more than half of the folks who signed up actually enrolled in the last month,” Duran said.
The recently released federal data include consumers who signed up for coverage under the law for the first time this year and returning customers from last year who selected a new plan for 2015.
Not counted are people who signed up last year and were automatically re-enrolled on Dec. 15 after failing to choose a new plan. That means the actual number of Floridians with coverage for 2015 is higher than 670,000.
HHS will likely release the number of total sign-ups in the state in January.
Counting automatic re-enrollments, nearly 6.5 million Americans have selected a plan for next year. The federal government has set a target of about 9 million enrollees for 2015.