CHARLESTON, W.Va. – More than 24,000 West Virginians have enrolled for the health care insurance that’s mandated in the Affordable Care Act through the state’s marketplace.  The open enrollment period extended into early April and updated numbers were released this week.

According to Fred Earley, president of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, 18,631 West Virginians enrolled for health care coverage through the subsidized federal exchange, while 6,171 West Virginians enrolled with Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield in other ways during the open enrollment period.

He said those numbers were in line with the company’s projections.  “It was quite a surge at the end, (but) not really unanticipated,” Earley said.  “We thought those that were procrastinating to the end, that there would be a surge in that.  It was actually a little higher than what we expected, so we’ve got us up pretty close to what we anticipated.”

Of the total enrollees, Earley said about 19 percent were in the 18-34 age group while 38 percent were in the 55-64 age group.  “That’s not too far from what we actually predicted,” he said.  Nationally, the 18-34 age group accounted for 28 percent of total enrollments.

For the first enrollment year under ACA or Obamacare, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield was the only company offering health insurance plans on the federal exchange in West Virginia.  Earley, a guest on Friday’s MetroNews “Talkline,” said he expected that to change next year.

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