ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- Nearly 52,000 people have enrolled for health coverage in Maryland since the second enrollment period began last month, the state's health care exchange said Friday.
Of those enrollees, 29,543 have signed up for private insurance plans for 2015. Another 22,253 enrolled in Medicaid. The updated enrollment numbers are for Nov. 15 through Thursday.
Nearly 340,000 visits have been made to the health exchange website, which was revamped this year after it was bedeviled by technology problems during the first enrollment period.
"I think the website has been going fairly smoothly," said Andrew Ratner, a spokesman for the exchange.
Maryland residents must enroll or renew their plans by Dec. 18 for insurance that starts Jan. 1. People who signed up last year are being encouraged to sign up again. The state has more insurance carriers now than it did in the first enrollment period, and that competition has led to new offerings and potentially better deals. People who receive a subsidy for their insurance need to get a new determination about what they are qualified to receive.
Ratner said the state is encouraging people to sign up sooner rather than later to get ahead of increased website traffic that is expected as the Dec. 18 deadline gets closer.
The exchange reported that 66,752 calls have been made to the state's consumer support center to get assistance. Ratner said call volume tends to be higher on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, when calls sometimes get backed up. He recommended calling in the evenings or toward the end of the week to avoid backups.
The state also released new enrollments by age. Of the new enrollees in the second sign-up period through Dec. 4, the highest number is for people between the ages of 55 and 64, with 12,067 enrollees.
The state is holding a series of enrollment fairs to help people sign up. The second enrollment period ends Feb. 15.
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