Health Insurance Sign-Ups Coming to Malls

CHICAGO (AP) -

The Obama administration will promote health insurance coverage at shopping malls starting on Black Friday and continuing through the busiest days of the end-of-year shopping season, officials announced Wednesday. They said more than 462,000 people selected a private insurance plan in the first week of 2015 enrollment through the online marketplace HealthCare.gov.

The government’s enrollment push with Westfield Shopping Centers will involve setting up outreach tables at malls in Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, New York and Washington state. Separately, the California insurance marketplace, Covered California, will work with Westfield malls in that state.

The administration released what it called a snapshot of signups for the first week of the enrollment period, which started Nov. 15. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said 462,125 people chose a health plan in the 37 states using the federal website.

Of those, 48 percent are new customers, including enrollees in Oregon and Nevada, which turned over their troubled insurance markets to the federal government. The figures don’t include states running their own insurance markets.