More than 1.5 million applied for health care

Despite a month of massive computer glitches and widespread frustration, more than 1.5 million people have been able to complete an application through the Health Insurance Marketplaces, including more than 56,000 from Georgia, according to data released Wednesday.

More than 100,000 have selected a plan, including nearly 1,400 from the Peach State, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

After weeks of trying to fix the very troubled Healthcare.gov Web site that people in 36 states, including Georgia, were trying to use to find out if they are eligible for subsidies and then enroll, Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the site is “open for business” even as more fixes are being made daily and weekly.

“Every day people are getting enrolled,” she said Wednesday.

Based on enrollment data that began with much consternation on Oct. 1 and running through Nov. 2, 846,184 applications representing 1,509,883 people were completed and 106,185 have actually selected a plan. Of those applying, a little over 1 million were determined to be eligible to enroll in the marketplaces and nearly 400,000 were eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Of those eligible to enroll in the marketplace, about a third or 326,130 will be eligible for a subsidy to defray premium costs.

The “vast majority” of those who have applied and not yet selected a plan are taking some time to weigh options, said Chiquita Brooks-Lasure, deputy center and policy director at the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

In Georgia, 56,783 have completed an application and 1,390 have selected a plan. Of those applying in Georgia, 41,426 were eligible to enroll in the Marketplace and 12,757 would receive subsidies to do so, while 7,709 were determined to be eligible for Medicaid or CHIP.

Officials said based on experiences in Massachusetts, which passed a similar plan in 2006, and on experiences in commercial insurance open enrollment, the majority of people will wait until the deadline to begin the actual enrollment process. The deadline to get coverage that would then kick in on Jan 1 is Dec. 15.

The total numbers for the first month show that people were much more successful enrolling and picking a plan in the 15 state-run Web sites than Healthcare.gov: of the 106,185 who have picked a plan, only 26,794 did so through Healthcare.gov while 79,391 did it through a state-run marketplace.

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