Six million people had re-enrolled or selected a plan for the first time on HealthCare.gov as of Dec. 17, the last day to have coverage effective Jan. 1. The CMS says the figure is about 60% higher than the number who had done so at this point last year.
Of the 6 million, 2.4 million are new to the marketplace, the agency said. Passive enrollment—when consumers are automatically re-enrolled in their current plans if they didn't choose another—will take place this month.
“There has been a tremendous amount of enthusiasm from people who want to get covered for the first time,” HealthCare.gov CEO Kevin Counihan said Friday.
The agency achieved the robust enrollment despite a website outage this week. Between Dec. 14 and 15, more than 3.7 million people visited the enrollment portal. During the same period, the marketplace call center took more than 2 million calls. Because of the high demand, the CMS extended the deadline to sign up for Jan. 1 coverage until Dec. 17
Another 968,000 have re-enrolled or selected a plan in nine of the 13 state-based exchanges, according to publicly posted information or data submitted to Project Japan from officials. The District of Columbia, Iowa, Kentucky and New York have yet to release data for the current open enrollment period.
HHS predicts 10 million people will have coverage by the end of 2016. It's expected that people will automatically renew or sign up for 2016 coverage at the last minute before open enrollment ends Jan. 31.