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Obamacare enrollment steady but slowing in Utah

Published February 12, 2014 6:24 pm

Health reform • Majority of Utahns gravitate to "silver" rated plans.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

More than 29,000 Utahns have found health coverage on the Affordable Care Act's online insurance marketplace, http://www.HealthCare.gov, 36 percent of whom enrolled last month.

Nationally, enrollment soared to 3.3 million, with 1.1 million, or 53 percent, signing up in January.

"That's now up to 9.6 million Americans who have either signed up for private coverage or Medicaid," said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announcing the numbers on Wednesday.

January's tally shows enrollment tapering from the spike in December, when scores of shoppers initially stymied by technical failures were finally able to complete online applications. And it's unclear how many consumers have actually paid their first month's premium, raising questions about whether the Obama administration will reach its enrollment goals.

The federal government had hoped to link 7 million people with private health plans before the open enrollment window closes March 31.

But Julie Bataille, communications director for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, expects enrollment to be brisk through March and stressed, "Our overall goal really remains to enroll as many Americans as possible in affordable health coverage."

Wednesday's report detailed the types of insurance plans Utahns favored.

Exchange plans are organized into "metal tiers," based on their actuarial values. Most Utah consumers, 55 percent, picked "silver" plans, which pay 70 percent of the costs of covered services.

Another 14 percent chose bronze, 26 percent went with gold and 4 percent picked platinum.

Nearly half, or 47 percent, of Utah's exchange shoppers are young, between the ages of 18 and 34. More than half are women.

kstewart@sltrib.com

Twitter: @KStewart4Trib

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