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Illinois Obamacare sign-ups rise 12 percent

By Corilyn Shropshire, Chicago Tribune

The number of Illinois residents who signed up for health insurance on the Obamacare exchange is up nearly 12 percent this year, according to preliminary data released Thursday by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

In Illinois, 388,179 people signed up for health insurance by midnight Feb. 1, compared with 347,300 people last year. Open enrollment ended Jan. 31, but the data extends through Feb. 1 to better capture people who may have been waiting online to sign up, officials said in a press release.

About 12.7 million people nationwide signed up for 2016 health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, 9.6 million of whom came through the HealthCare.gov website, and 3.1 million chose coverage through state-based health care exchanges. More than 4 million are new health insurance marketplace consumers, officials told reporters on a conference call.

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The 2016 number includes people who were automatically re-enrolled in plans.

“Open enrollment for 2016 is over and we are happy to report it was a success,” said Sylvia Burwell, the HHS secretary. “These totals exceed our expectations … more than 90 percent of Americans are insured and that’s the first time this has ever been true.”

Of those who got their coverage through HealthCare.gov, about 40 percent – or 4 million – are new participants, officials said. New participants who selected plans from state-based exchanges will boost the total number of new enrollments for 2016.

The bulk of the Illinois sign-ups during the open enrollment period were from the Chicago market, according to data supplied by HHS, with 310,523 Chicago-area consumers choosing health care plans from Nov. 1, when the open enrollment period began, through Feb. 1.

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(c)2016 the Chicago Tribune

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