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More than 960,000 in New York sign up for health insurance in 1st enrollment period of new law

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ALBANY, New York — More than 960,000 New York residents signed up for insurance under the state's new health plan marketplace during its first enrollment period, according to a state report issued Wednesday.

The analysis shows that 55 percent of the individuals enrolled in Medicaid and 38 percent — or 371,000 people — signed up for private insurances on the marketplace. About three quarters of them received some level of financial assistance.

Eighty-one percent of those who signed up for coverage during the period between Oct. 1 and April 15 were previously uninsured.

The marketplace, known as the NY State of Health, is a key part of the federal Affordable Care Act. The state is about a third of the way to its goal of 1.1 million New Yorkers signed up for private insurance plans by the end of 2016.

"We are definitely on track," said Health Department spokesman Bill Schwarz.

Residents of New York City accounted for 52 percent of those who signed up for insurance. Slightly more women enrolled than men overall, and adults ages 26 to 34 made up the single largest group of enrollees.

Just under half of those who signed up did so in person, with help from one of 9,000 employees trained to navigate the marketplace. Eleven percent enrolled over the phone, and 41 percent used the marketplace's website. The state says 4.5 million people visited the website through April 15, with big spikes in traffic before enrollment deadlines.

About three-fourths of those who used the marketplace to enroll did so after Jan. 1

The report also says 3,100 small businesses have signed up for plans that will cover nearly 10,000 employees.

Sixteen insurers are offering plans on the exchange. The state says the rates are, on average, 53 percent lower than last year's rates for individual policies.

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