Health care signups nearing 6.5 million

Burwell defended the exchange offerings, and the Affordable Care Act in general, on the Wednesday call, saying she was hoping that discussion of the law would "move from rhetoric to reality, and the reality of what this means to real people across the country".

Trump has promised to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, and Congress is expected to take action in coming weeks to strip away parts of the law.

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said Wednesday that 6.4 million people signed up for insurance effective January 1, compared to 6 million by this deadline previous year.

Burwell said those who predicted higher premiums would undermine enrollment were proven wrong.

HealthCare.gov sells plans for 39 states while the other states run their own exchanges.

Last year, HHS announced that more than 8.2 million Americans, and almost 178,000 Hoosiers, had either enrolled or been automatically re-enrolled in insurance plans during the November 1-Dec.

Wisconsin's enrollment growth of almost 14 percent was higher than the national one of about 6.7 percent.

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President-elect Trump said recently that he wanted to keep the ACA's prohibition against denying coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Enrollment exceeded 170,000 customers on the Washington exchange as of this week, up 13 percent compared to the same time a year ago. Madison saw the lowest increase at 168 percent. Yet the minority who would lose one of those valuable subsidies - about 3% of those low/middle earners - would face the equivalent of a huge tax hike: paying about $6,200 more per year, on average.

Meanwhile, a new report published this week by the Commonwealth Fund shows the percentage of South Carolinians without health insurance dropped from 23 percent in 2013 to 16 percent previous year. In addition, the IRS will be sending people who paid fines for being uninsured a not-too-subtle nudge, reminding them that they can avoid higher penalties for 2017 by signing up now.

During a call with reporters, HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell said the enrollment numbers indicate Americans are finding plans on HealthCare.gov despite challenges on the federal marketplace, including rising premiums and insurers withdrawing plans. While the surprise presidential election outcome may have been the primary force for changing those expectations, other factors also have fueled enrollment growth this fall, state officials pointed out in interviews. Enrollment in several states, including Virginia, continued to increase despite uncertainty about the future of President Barack Obama's signature health care law. "However, if more people who are now in the market renew their coverage, then that goal could still be achieved".

An official with the investigation said that they "followed the instructions as given and we got in nine out of 10 times".

In June, the Montana Republican Party approved a platform in which it supported the repeal of Obamacare and opposed expansion of Medicaid "to able-bodied adults".

She said 30,000 marketplace customers have contacted call centers after the November election of Donald Trump, anxious they will lose coverage next year.

The enrollment figures provided Wednesday don't include customers who will be automatically re-enrolled in their existing marketplace plans.


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