WASHINGTON, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- Some 12.7 million people signed up or renewed medical coverage under Obamacare during 2016 open enrollment, landing in the middle of the projected 11 million to 14 million enrollees through Healthcare.gov and state-run counterparts.
The new total is marginally higher than the 11.7 million people who enrolled by the close of open enrollment last year. Open enrollment ended Jan. 31.
"Instead of waiting until the last moment, as we saw in previous years, people signed up for coverage by the first deadline because they wanted coverage to start as soon as possible," said Sylvia Burwell, secretary of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, adding more than 90 percent of Americans are insured.
For 2016, more than 9.6 signed up through Healthcare.gov, which covers 38 states. More than 4 million were new customers, many in the 18 to 34 age bracket. Another 3.1 million people selected health insurance plans through state-run exchanges. Separately, about 400,000 people signed up on the New York and Minnesota marketplaces for coverage through the Basic Health Program.
This year, the tax penalty for staying uninsured jumped $325 over last year, to up to $695 per person.
Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, Senate Finance Committee chairman and a longtime critic of Obamacare, said this year's sign-ups were "anemic," and said the health law's coverage is "unpopular, unaffordable and unworkable."