62,153 people signed up for Obamacare coverage by first deadline

As of midnight Tuesday, 62,153 Connecticut residents had signed up for coverage as part of the federal health law commonly known as Obamacare, according to figures from Access Health CT, the state’s health insurance exchange.

Access Health CEO Kevin Counihan said that Monday, the final day for people to enroll in insurance plans that start Jan. 1, was “by far the biggest day we’ve ever had,” with more than 6,600 people signing up. Overall, about 55 percent of enrollees are purchasing private insurance while the other 45 percent will receive Medicaid.

People who missed the deadline can still sign up for health plans through Access Health, but their coverage won’t take effect until Feb. 1 at the earliest. The open enrollment period for signing up for exchange insurance plans runs through March 31.

People who qualify for Medicaid can sign up at any point in the year, although those who go more than three months without coverage could face a financial penalty in 2014, the first year the health law’s individual coverage mandate will be in effect.

Counihan said the exchange had made enrollee information available to the insurance companies that will provide the coverage. The insurance carriers must now take the information and send enrollees bills. The insurers have agreed to give members until Jan. 10 to pay their first month’s bill and still receive coverage retroactive to Jan. 1.

Of those who have enrolled since Oct. 1, 34,295 are buying private insurance. The remaining 27,858 will receive Medicaid coverage — some because of Obamacare and some because they qualify for the state’s existing public coverage program.

As part of the health law, the state is expanding the Medicaid program to cover more adults who don’t have minor children. So far, 17,858 people have signed up for the expanded Medicaid program, according to Access Health.

But in its enrollment figures, Access Health also includes 10,000 people under what exchange officials call “organic” Medicaid growth — that is, people who are eligible for Medicaid under existing rules and have signed up through the state Department of Social Services.

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