People signing up for health insurance spurred a last-minute surge in enrollment figures on the New York and federal exchanges.
The New York State Department of Health announced that as of Monday, 241,522 New Yorkers had enrolled on the state's exchange, NY State of Health, with a 22 percent increase from Dec. 23 to Dec. 30.
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Tuesday that as of Dec. 28 more than 2.1 million had enrolled through state-based or federal exchanges for private plans, with more than half on the federal exchange. She said an additional 3.9 million had signed up for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program, although some of those were renewals.
The deadline for individuals seeking coverage beginning Wednesday was 11:55 p.m. Dec. 24, the state said. At that time, total enrollments were 230,624, with 168,999 enrolled in private plans and 61,625 in Medicaid, the health department said.
Individuals and families have until March 31 to enroll in a health plan. Coverage for those who signed up between Dec. 25 and Tuesday will begin Feb. 1.
The state Health Department said it is "on track" to reach its enrollment goal of 1.1 million people by the end of 2016, with a one-third increase projected each year. The state said there was no enrollment projection for 2013.
In a blog posted Tuesday, Marilyn Tavenner, administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said that HealthCare.gov enrollment almost doubled nationally days before the Jan. 1 deadline.
She said more than 1.1 million people enrolled from Oct. 1 to Dec. 24, with more than 975,000 of those enrolling in December.
She attributed the increase to improvements in the website, which she said "supported 83,000 concurrent users on Dec. 23 alone."
Sebelius said exchange enrollees should contact their insurance plans if they haven't received either a temporary or permanent insurance card and they need to visit a doctor or get their prescriptions filled in the next few days.
New York urged enrollees to visit its NY State of Health website for information on what they should expect or call its customer service hotline if they encounter problems.
CVS and Walgreens said they will provide a "bridge" supply of medications for those who don't yet have an insurance identification number.