Federal Officials Report a Late Surge in Insurance Enrollment

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As a Dec. 24 midnight enrollment deadline approached, the federal government announced Tuesday that HealthCare.gov logged some 2 million visits on Dec. 23. Consumers were scrambling to select plans before Christmas in order to get coverage that begins Jan. 1.

The high traffic volume caused HealthCare.gov’s queuing system to kick in on Monday, forcing consumers to wait in a virtual line. Volume remained higher than average on Tuesday, but the queuing system was not used, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. In a statement, CMS spokeswoman Julie Bataille said the federal government’s enrollment assistance call center received some 250,000 calls on Monday.

States running their own insurance marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act reportedly similarly high interest from consumers seeking coverage in recent days. California reported that more than 77,000 residents enrolled in health plans between Dec. 20 and Dec. 22; the state has reported more than 400,000 sign ups in total. New York said Tuesday afternoon that more than 25,000 people signed up for coverage through its exchange since Monday—214,077 have signed up in the state since Oct. 1.

Bataille said consumers who begin the process of selecting health plans after midnight Tuesday will be able to purchase coverage that begins Feb. 1. Open enrollment for individual market plans available through Obamacare’s insurance exchanges lasts until March 31, 2014.