healthcaregov

*After stumbling out of the blocks, nearly 365,000 people have signed up for health insurance at healthcare.gov in its first two months, officials announced this morning.

The pace of sign-ups accelerated in November after the Obama administration worked to solve technical problems with the website. Officials say there has been an even bigger increase in traffic in recent weeks.

Through November, just over 137,200 Americans have picked an insurance policy through healthcare.gov and nearly 227,500 through the 14 state-run exchanges, according to new federal figures released Wednesday. That’s up from a total of 106,000 who signed up in October.

These figures reflect people who have selected an insurance plan, but not all have paid their first month’s premium, which activates the coverage. An additional 1.94 million people have been determined eligible to enroll, but have not yet picked a policy.

Americans have until Dec. 23 to select a policy if they want coverage to start Jan. 1. They must start paying their premiums by the end of this year, or they may see their policy selection canceled. Open enrollment for those who want coverage in 2014 ends March 31.

Federal officials said they think they are on track to reach their goals and noted that many people wait until the last minute to enroll.

Only a handful of state exchanges have released demographic data of those picking plans. California, for instance, said that younger residents age 18 to 34 accounted for about 22.5% of the sign ups in October, just about the share they represent in the state population.

Sign-ups vary widely by state. More than 107,000 Californians have picked plans, while only 44 Oregonians have. Florida leads the way in the federal exchange, with nearly 18,000 people picking plans, while North Dakota has only 265 sign-ups.

Only about 41% of the total number eligible to enroll so far qualify for subsidies, less than half of initial projections.

Separately, just over 803,000 people have been determined eligible for Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Only half of states and the District of Columbia have opted to expand this public health program.

While federal officials have addressed many of the technical issues that plagued consumers’ ability to sign up for a plan, they continue to wrestle with transmitting accurate applications to insurers. Officials say they think 90% of transaction forms are accurate, but are still working with insurers to match applicants records.