After stumbling out of the gate in early October, the nation’s new health-insurance exchanges are picking up steam. On the eve of the December 23 deadline for securing coverage that starts January 1, more than a million Americans have completed the enrollment process, according to the Commonwealth Fund. Just over half of the new enrollees (621,000) have joined Medicaid programs, and 525,000 have purchased private plans through the marketplaces.
The current tally for marketplace plans is a small fraction of the 7 million the government expects to chalk up by March 31, when the open-enrollment period ends. But as this chart shows, the total has quintupled in the past seven weeks, and has more than doubled in the past four, thanks mainly to brisk uptake in the state-run marketplaces. If these trends continue, the projection for March 31 is still well within reach.