"We're happy to report it was a success," said Sylvia Burwell, secretary of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department.
She noted that the federal Obamacare marketplace, which serves residents of 38 states, alone signed up 4 million new customers in plans sold by private insurance companies. All told, HealthCare.gov signed up more than 9.6 million customers.
"We knocked the lights out this year," said Kevin Counihan, CEO of HealthCare.gov.
The remaining customers in the national tally came from the Obamacare exchanges run by 12 individual states and the District of Columbia. About 85 percent of the customers on Obamacare exchanges nationwide received federal subsidies that help reduce the cost of their monthly premiums. That aid is available to people with low and moderate incomes.
Burwell also pointed out that more than 17.6 million people have gained health coverage since the Affordable Care Act went into effect, driving the national uninsured rate to below 10 percent. In addition to creating the Obamacare exchanges, which sell individual insurance plans to people, the ACA also funded expanded Medicaid programs by the states for more of their poor residents, and allowed adults under age 26 to be covered by their parents' health plans.
With the new enrollment tally on Obamacare exchanges, Burwell said, "We again see that the ACA is helping millions of people, and has become a crucial part of health care in America."
Burwell told reporters that the enrollment tally announced Thursday shows that Obamacare plans is a product that people "do want and need."
She said that while "some have questioned whether young people would enroll," in Obamacare, "they are."
"This year, we have 2.7 million [HealthCare.gov] customers ages 18 to 34, and the percentage of new customers in that age range is higher than last year, while the overall percentage of plan selections for customers that age remains stable," she said.