174K Applied for NY’s Healthcare Marketplace

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -

New York’s health insurance marketplace reported Wednesday having received 174,000 completed applications for new coverage starting next year, accounting for a large share of initial signups nationally under the Affordable Care Act.

About 500,000 applications have been filed through federal and state marketplaces, also known as exchanges, since they launched three weeks ago with systems plagued by technical problems, Obama administration officials have said. But they haven’t said how many people have managed to enroll.

New York addressed initial website problems by quadrupling capacity on the marketplace that includes low-cost plans and possible government subsidies. Health officials said Wednesday that 37,030 New Yorkers have completed the process and fully enrolled with individual insurers.

“There are a number of people who’ve done everything but make the final decision about the plan,” Health Department spokesman Bill Schwarz said Wednesday. Enrollments represent individuals whose applications have been accepted by insurance companies, though they may not yet have paid initial premiums.

Without national enrollment figures, it’s unclear whether the program is on track to reach the 7 million people projected to gain coverage during the six-month signup period.

However, interest in the insurance markets appears high. Officials said about 19 million people had visited HealthCare.gov as of Friday night. An internal memo showed that the administration projected nearly a half million people would enroll for the insurance markets during the first month.

New York has an estimated 2.7 million uninsured among roughly 19 million residents. One analysis indicated about 1.1 million people would enroll. The state built the exchange under an executive order by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in April 2012, after a legislative proposal ran into opposition in the Republican-controlled state Senate.

A new poll has found more New York state residents who favor moving ahead with Obamacare than those who want to repeal it.

A Siena poll released Tuesday found 43 percent of respondents saying they want to see the law go forward. Another 32 percent say the law should be put on hold until it’s workable and affordable and 22 percent want it repealed.

Democrats were far more supportive than Republicans of the law, which remains controversial. Other polls have shown Americans are just as likely to say it was a bad idea as a good one.