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Final Surge May Have Sent Obamacare Signups to 7 Million

A final surge of health insurance signups may have sent the number of new enrollees to the 7 million mark.
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A final surge of health insurance signups may have sent the number of new enrollees to the 7 million mark — the original estimate for the new Obamacare marketplaces and past what supporters had hoped for.

A White House official said the site was “on track” to log 7 million customers for private plans on the exchange. More than 4.8 million people visited on Monday, the last day to get started enrolling, said Health and Human Services spokeswoman Joanne Peters.

“Not an April Fools: 3/31 was a record breaking day to end open enrollment. More than 4.8m visits to HCgov and 2m calls to call center,” she tweeted.

Healthcare.Gov, the portal for people signing up for insurance on the exchanges, closed down overnight and now is closed to people trying to set up new accounts. They will have to wait until open enrollment starts for 2015 in November.

“Open enrollment is over for 2014,” it says.

The website enters its next phase on April 1,

People who have already created accounts and started the enrollment process may still log in and finish. Officials say they’ll have some more time to finish up, at least for the 36 states using the federal site and for some of the states, including Maryland and Connecticut.

And people with major life changes such as marriage or a job loss can also enroll.

The Obama administration had predicted a final rush to sign up from the beginning, but officials made clear they felt vindicated after months of political attacks from Republicans predicting that Americans would reject the exchanges.

“Somewhere in Washington a Republican congressional staffer is re-writing the Obamacare enrollment failing talking points,” White House spokeswoman Tara McGuinness tweeted.

The Congressional Budget Office has originally projected that 7 million people would sign up the first year, but revised that estimate down to 6 million after the site barely worked for the first two months. The estimate made 7 million an unofficial target for the administration.

More than 40 million people lack health insurance in the United States, and it is not yet clear how many of the enrollees on the health exchange had no insurance before.

The administration also notes people have gained insurance in other ways under the Affordable Care Act — for instance through a provision allowing adults under age 26 to stay on their parents’ plans and through Medicaid expansion in some states.