Nov 27, 2014 01:16 AM EST
Open enrollment for the second year of Obamacare individual health coverage brought in 462,125 people who chose their health plans in its first week, nearly half of whom were first-time customers, the U.S. government said on Wednesday.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has set a goal of 9 million people for 2015 individual plans. This new coverage was introduced in 2014 for the first time as part of President Barack Obama's national healthcare law, often called Obamacare.
After fixing the technology issues that last year contributed to a rocky start for enrollment in the program, more than 7 million people were enrolled in 2014 plans.
"It's still early and we have a long way to go, but we're off to a solid start," Secretary Sylvia Burwell said during a press conference to discuss the first week's data for the 2015 enrollment period that opened on Nov. 15.
Of the 462,125 people who selected one of the health plans sold on Healthcare.gov, 52 percent were individuals who had enrolled in a 2014 plans. The balance were new customers, including people in Oregon and Nevada who are using the federally run exchange for the first time.
The federal exchange covers 35 states and the remaining states and Washington D.C. run their own exchanges and release their data separately. Oregon and Nevada moved their customers to Healthcare.gov because of technology problems.
Enrollment for 2015 coverage closes on Feb. 15 and current customers who do not actively sign up again by Dec. 15 will be automatically re-enrolled.
Between Nov. 15 and Nov. 21, the website experienced no outages and its peak number of concurrent users was 55,000, HHS said. The site was built to withstand 250,000 concurrent users based on the government's expectation for 9 million people to seek coverage for 2015.
Healthcare.gov had 3,741,725 unique users and 1,032,129 applications were submitted, the agency said.
(Reporting by Caroline Humer; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)
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