“Hundreds” of applicants signed up for Illinois health insurance: top state official says

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Only hundreds of applicants  enrolled in the online Illinois health insurance exchange in October, a top state official said Friday — giving the first glimpse of how the new federal health care program is doing in this state.

“If I had to guess the total enrollment for October, I would estimate it to be in the triple digits,” said Jennifer Koehler, director of the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace.

It is only an estimate, because the federal government, which runs the HealthCare.gov where Illinois can apply to buy insurance, has not released those numbers.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has said, though, that nationally, six people enrolled the first day the website went live on Oct. 1.

Glitches on the federal HealthCare.gov have been a problem since the start.  The government has said that they will fix the site by the end of this month.

State officials said they never expected large enrollment numbers in the first few weeks and that they are confident continued education efforts will lead to healthy enrollment.

Koehler added that Illinois website, GetCoveredIllinois.gov, has enabled more than 44,000 Illinois people to apply for Medicaid.

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