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California exchange nears enrollment goal

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Covered California managers say business has been good.

The number of people who signed up for private “qualified health plan” coverage through the exchange soared to 400,096 in December, up from 78,377 in November, managers said.

Volume has slowed some this month, but the exchange still received QHP selection information for 125,000 people from the first two weeks of January.

The exchange now has individual QHP selection information for 625,000 people, including 424,936 who are eligible for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act tax credit.

Peter Lee, the executive director, said the exchange originally estimated the individual QHPs might be able to serve 487,000 to 696,000 California residents eligible for subsidies.

“We are on track to meet, if not exceed, those enrollment estimates,” Lee said.

The exchange also has helped 584,000 people get Medicaid coverage, and it has helped 289 small businesses get coverage for 2,155 employees and dependents.

About 25 percent of the QHP choosers have been ages 18 to 34.

Four big carriers – WellPoint’s Anthem unit, WellPoint, Kaiser Permanente and Health Net – have attracted 96 percent of the QHP enrollees. The QHP issuer with the lowest enrollment, Contra Costa Health Plan, has attracted 391 enrollees. 

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