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December 11, 2013

3,500 Hoosiers chose exchange plans in 2 months

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Nearly 2,800 Indiana residents chose a health insurance plan through the federally run online exchange during its second month of operation — about four times the number who obtained coverage through the glitch-plagued exchange in its first month, the federal government said Wednesday.

A total of 3,492 Indiana residents chose health insurance plans through the exchange between Oct. 1 and Nov. 30, according to figures released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. That's up from just 701 Hoosiers who selected health plans during the exchange's first month.

But the nearly 3,500 Indiana residents who obtained health plans through the exchange by Nov. 30 is only a tiny fraction of the more than 500,000 Hoosiers eligible to do so.

The new HHS numbers show that nearly 35,700 applications from uninsured Indiana residents seeking coverage were completed during the exchange's first two months. Those applications sought coverage for nearly 70,000 people, of whom nearly 39,000 had been found eligible to enroll in a plan through the exchange.

The new figures don't indicate how many Indiana residents selecting a health plan have started paying premiums.

Indiana Family and Social Services Administration spokesman Jim Gavin said the agency had no comment Wednesday on the Indiana numbers released by HHS.

More than 4 million Americans have lost their health coverage because their individual plans didn't measure up under the federal health care law. State officials estimate that 108,000 Indiana residents have lost health coverage due to such policy cancellations.

Despite those woes and lingering problems with the website, the executive director of the advocacy group Covering Kids & Families of Indiana, David Roos, said he's pleased to see that Indiana's enrollment numbers are growing.

Roos said his group is urging Hoosiers seeking health coverage to use the still-problematic exchange in the coming days to apply for coverage before a Dec. 23 enrollment deadline to have coverage on Jan. 1.

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