Here comes the surge.
More than 10 million people have selected Obamacare insurance plans or been automatically re-enrolled in existing plans with just 11 days of open enrollment in health coverage remaining this season, according to official data released Wednesday.
And after another relatively low number of sign-ups on HealthCare.gov for the week ending last Saturday, there has been a marked uptick in the number of plan selections in recent days on that federally run exchange, which sells insurance in 37 states, a top health official said.
"We are seeing a ramp-up actually . . . that we're very encouraged by," said HealthCare.gov CEO Kevin Counihan during a conference call with reporters in which he and other officials emphasized the importance of people beating the Feb. 15 deadline.
Most Americans must have some form of health coverage by that date or face a tax penalty. In 2015, the fine is the higher of $325 per adult or 2 percent of taxable household income.
Counihan and other officials said they expect there will be a large surge of people shopping and selecting plans on HealthCare.gov and state-run insurance marketplaces in the days leading up to Feb. 15.
"Last year, for a example, a huge amount of enrollees came in the last couple of days," Counihan said
A total of 179,710 people chose a plan on HealthCare.gov from Jan. 23 through Jan. 31, according to the U.S. Health and Human Services Department. That brings the total number of people who selected plans or have been automatically re-enrolled in existing HealthCare.gov plans to 7.47 million.