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Colorado reports brisk pace for 2nd year of health insurance sign-ups

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DENVER — Individual insurance sign-ups under Colorado's health care exchange are running ahead of the pace from a year ago, when the marketplace opened for the first time, state officials announced Monday.

Connect For Health Colorado officials said 6,144 people got health and dental insurance plans in the first full week of enrollment for 2015.

That's way ahead of the 240 or so who signed up in the first week last year, when the exchange was new.

Connect For Health attracted about 150,000 customers in its first year and wants to reach a total of 200,000 this time around.

Of the enrollments so far this year, about 4,400 were returning customers.

Many health insurance premiums are cheaper than a year ago, but the result means lower subsidies for some. Exchange officials are encouraging people who already signed up last year to come back to see if they can find a better deal or need to stay with the same plan.

"Our big message here today is the same one we had a couple weeks ago, to be honest. It's get out and shop early. You only have a few more weeks to sign up," Connect For Health CEO Gary Drew said.

The deadline is Dec. 15 for enrolling in coverage that takes effect Jan. 1.

Of the 6,144 people buying plans, about 3,400 received some financial assistance. The figures do not include people signing up for Medicaid.

Connect For Health now has 13 walk-up locations open to help people enroll, along with a mobile van touring the state and hitting events where people might be shopping for insurance.

Drew said the call center has more than 200 staffers and the exchange's computer system has not had any serious glitches.

"The system's working great," he said.


Kristen Wyatt can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/APkristenwyatt

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