Most States Lag in Health Insurance Sign-Ups

WASHINGTON (AP) -

Most states are still lagging when it comes to sign-ups under President Barack Obama’s health-care law, but an Associated Press analysis of numbers reported Wednesday finds a dozen getting ahead of the game.

Huge disparities are emerging in how well states are living up to federal enrollment targets, and that will help determine if the White House reaches its unofficial goal of having 7 million signed up by the end of March, six weeks away.

Connecticut is the nation’s over-achiever, signing up more than twice the number of residents it had been projected to enroll by the end of January. Massachusetts, which pioneered the approach Obama took in his law, is at the bottom of the list, having met only 5 percent of its target.

Six Republican-led states — Florida, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina, and Wisconsin — are on pace or better.

The administration said Wednesday about 1 million people signed up for private insurance under the health law in January.

The new national numbers show that nearly 3.3 million people signed up from last Oct. 1 through Feb. 1.

“It’s very, very encouraging news,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Still, the goal of 7 million by the end of March seems like a stretch.

Also, officials are unable to say how many of those who signed up were previously uninsured — the ultimate test of Obama’s hard-fought overhaul. They also don’t know how many have sealed the deal by paying their premiums.

Among the states meeting or exceeding expectations, New York was the biggest. Its 211,290 signups represent more than one-and-a-half times its goal. Other populous states among the top performers included Florida, Michigan, and North Carolina.

California, which leads all the states in enrollment, had met 90 percent of its goal with 728,086 signed up.

Texas, which has the highest proportion of uninsured residents of any state, was subpar. It met 53 percent of its goal.