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More than 19,000 North Dakotans sign up for Obamacare

FARGO -- More than 19,000 North Dakotans have signed up for health insurance through the marketplace established by Obamacare, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services this week. The report comes in the middle of the 2016 ope...

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FARGO -- More than 19,000 North Dakotans have signed up for health insurance through the marketplace established by Obamacare, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services this week.

The report comes in the middle of the 2016 open enrollment period, which began Nov. 1 and ends Jan. 31.

In the same time period, 8.2 million Americans in total have signed up through the marketplace, which is available at HealthCare.gov and, for Spanish speakers, CuidadodeSalud.gov.

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How does this compare with previous years?

At the end of the 2015 enrollment period, 18,171 North Dakotans had signed up, 55 percent of them new consumers, according to the Health Department.

As of Saturday, 19,183 North Dakotans have signed up in the 2016 enrollment period though the number of new consumers has not yet been released.

Nationally, at the end of the 2015 enrollment period, 8.8 million Americans had signed up, 53 percent of them new consumers. As of Saturday, 8.2 million American had signed up, 29 percent of them new consumers.

Though the deadline for new coverage has ended, re-enrollment will continue until the end of January so the Health Department expects that total enrollment will continue to go up.

The department is reminding residents that the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, requires those who can afford it to buy health insurance or face a tax penalty. The legislation's goal is to get everyone health care, which means accepting those with pre-existing conditions. To avoid having the insurance pool dominated by older and sicker people, who are costlier to insure, the law requires everyone, including younger and healthier people, to sign up. It also provides premium subsidies.

In 2016, those who don't have insurance for more than three months will owe the government $695 per person in the household or 2.5 percent of household income, whichever is higher. That's up from $325 per person or 2 percent of household income this year.

Related Topics: HEALTH
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