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Obamacare enrollment surges with Florida leading way, feds say

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New Jersey's enrollment in Obamacare is running at a pace that is 14 percent higher than this time a year ago, federal officials said Wednesday.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said today that 6.4 million Americans, including 163,743 persons in Tennessee and 352,282 in Georgia, signed up for individual plans through Obamacare by Monday's deadline for full coverage in 2016. Small, new plans have had to make big payments under the rule to big, established carriers that have a longer claims history for their enrollees. Burwell said 30,000 people called the ACA hotline just to find out if Obamacare had already been repealed.

The exchanges need fresh blood to succeed, after many insurers raised their rates to contend with the high number of sick customers who signed up in earlier rounds.

In an email, Louisiana Department of Health officials say they don't want to speculate about the next president's health care plans, but note that there have been calls for reducing federal funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program, eliminating federal funding for Medicaid expansion to low-income adults, and making Medicaid a block grant program.

"It's the best thing folks can do right now", Burwell said.

Open enrollment through Healthcare.gov will continue until January 31.

Consumers with ACA coverage for 2016 who didn't renew or change their health plan by the December 19 deadline were automatically enrolled for 2017 in the same plan or a similar one if their old plan was no longer available on healthcare.gov.

About 20 protesters chanted their support of keeping the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obama Care.

One of the exchange's key goals is informing Nevadans that open enrollment continues through next month, she said.

In Alabama, enrollment through December 19 hit 122,711, compared to 120,919 in the previous year, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

These numbers, Burwell cautioned, do not include auto-enrollments.

"Because of the new administration and the high likelihood of changes coming to the ACA, it is creating a sense of urgency" for people to enroll, said Michael Marchand, director of communications for the Washington Health Benefit Exchange.

Other state exchanges saw moderate increases: CT, 3 percent; Idaho, 4 percent; Maryland, 1 percent. Under the ACA, insurance companies cannot refuse to sell coverage to an individual with a pre-existing condition, they cannot sell a policy that excludes coverage of a pre-existing condition, and they cannot charge more for a policy sold to an individual with a pre-existing condition.

"We're going to do a hard push for the last six weeks of this open enrollment", Burwell said. Congressional Republicans may hold off repealing some of the taxes associated with the measure to provide funding for whatever replacement legislation is developed, sources told the Hill Wednesday.

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