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Almost 6 million have health insurance via online marketplace

Dec. 31, 2013 at 3:30 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Nearly 6 million people are newly insured -- 2.1 million privately insured and 4 million in government insurance plans -- U.S. health officials said Tuesday.

"The most recent data indicate more than 2.1 million people have enrolled in a private health insurance plan through the federal and state-based marketplaces since Oct. 1," Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, told reporters during a telephone news conference.

"Both states and the federal government websites have seen a surge in enrollment in December. Our healthcare.gov enrollment nearly doubled in days before the Jan. 1 coverage deadline compared to the first weeks of the month. We expect these numbers to continue to grow.

The Obama administration had forecast that by this time about 7 million would have been newly insured or the under-insured would have better coverage. The numbers are preliminary. The 3.9 million

Americans learned they're eligible for coverage through Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program in October and November.

These numbers include new eligibility determinations and some Medicaid and CHIP renewals. Complete numbers for December will be presented in January.

"For consumers whose marketplace coverage begins on Jan.1, we're doing everything we can to help ensure a smooth transition period. If consumers have questions about their new private insurance coverage, they can contact their insurance company directly, Sebelius said.

Consumers can log into their account on healthcare.gov to find their insurer's customer service line or browse through a directory on the federal website, she added.

Sebelius reminded those who obtained health insurance via the online marketplace to make sure to:

-- Get your insurance card or a temporary card with your new health plan's information. If you don't have your card yet, ask your insurance company to give you another way to confirm your coverage.

-- Make sure you know when your first premium payment is due and pay it by the due date.

-- Check to see which doctors and pharmacies are in your network.

Before you first visit:

-- Bring your insurance card with you to the doctor or pharmacy. If you don't have a card, ask your doctor or pharmacy what other proof of insurance they may accept.

-- If you thought you enrolled in health coverage but aren't showing up in the system, call your insurance company directly. If you don't have your insurer's contact information call the marketplace call center at 1-800-318-2596 and a trained representative can provide it to you.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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