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Obama Administration Posts Low Health Care Signups

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The administration says fewer than 27,000 people managed to enroll for health insurance last month in the 36 states relying on the problem-filled federal website for President Barack Obama's overhaul. 
 
The dismal numbers released Wednesday by federal health officials were even lower than estimates recently circulated. There was one bright spot: States running their own websites did better than the feds, reporting more than 79,000 sign-ups. 
 
Even so, total private insurance enrollment after the first month of the health care rollout was only about one-fifth what the administration had expected during that time period. 
 
Enrollment numbers totaled 106,185. A Sept. 5 administration estimate had projected that 494,620 people would enroll in the first month on www.healthcare.gov.
 
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says she expects things to improve.  

Nevada is not included in the 36 states mentioned above that's participating in the federal program. When the Affordable Care Act was passed, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval opted for Nevada to maintain control over its own system rather than giving that control to the federal government.

"Nevada's Division of Insurance makes sure federal mandates are covered and state mandates are both covered. So all plans in Nevada will cover Autism Spectrum Disorders because our legislators have mandated it as important in the state. "We held more than 60 public hearings across the state to hear from Nevadans and a state-based system has meant we have more individualism and more control," says C.J. Bawden of Nevada Health Link.

To date 3,600 policies have been opened that would potentially cover about 5,600 Nevadans. Bawden says that 513 policies have been completed and paid for to date.

Neighboring California's new health insurance exchange tentatively enrolled 35,000 people during its first month of operation, a fraction of the eventual goal in the state with the nation's largest uninsured population.
 
A report released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also showed that California determined about 80,000 lower-income people would be eligible for expanded Medicaid coverage under the national health care overhaul.
 
California counts nearly 7 million people without health coverage. An estimated 2.3 million are expected to enroll in a health plan through the new agency, known as Covered California, by 2017.
 
Earlier this month Covered California said about 2.5 million people had visited its website.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)  

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