180,000 Pennsylvanians enrolled in health plans

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — More than 180,000 Pennsylvania residents enrolled or re-enrolled in plans sold through the health insurance marketplace in the first month of this winter's enrollment period, federal officials said in a report issued Tuesday.

The report, released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, captured statistics for the first month of open enrollment, Nov. 15 to Dec. 15.

It was the first 50-state report on the latest sign-up season under President Barack Obama's health care law, with the federal agency reporting that more than 4 million people nationally selected plans for the first time or re-enrolled in what the Obama administration called "an encouraging start."

In Pennsylvania, most of the 180,000-plus enrollees, or 53 percent, signed up for insurance through the marketplace for the first time, the report said. It did not say how many of them lacked insurance previously. The rest, or 47 percent, re-enrolled in a plan after buying one during the six-month open enrollment period that ended March 31.

The numbers did not include people who were automatically re-enrolled. About 317,000 Pennsylvania residents had signed up for insurance in the last full enrollment period, according to the federal government. However, federal officials have been unable to say how many of those who signed up in the first enrollment period remain insured.

Of the 180,000, 79 percent were eligible for federal tax credits to help them pay for coverage.

The open enrollment period lasts through Feb. 15.

Pennsylvania is relying on a federally run online insurance marketplace, like 33 other states, after Republican Gov. Tom Corbett declined to take on the task.

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