By Elise Viebeck - 11/13/13 07:36 PM EST
California registered more ObamaCare enrollments in October than the 36 states served by HealthCare.gov combined, according to figures released Wednesday.
The striking contrast highlights the shakiness of the federally facilitated healthcare exchanges relative to their — mostly — stronger state-run counterparts.
California announced later in the day that a total of about 59,000 people had enrolled in plans through Nov. 12.
The state hopes to sign up about 1 million people in either subsidized plans or Medicaid by the end of March, on top of those who will not receive government help to buy coverage.
"The numbers are better than encouraging," said Peter Lee, who heads Covered California, the state's exchange. "This is a proud day for California."
Wednesday marked a major milestone in the rollout of the new healthcare marketplaces as the Obama administration disclosed initial enrollment figures for the first time.
Only 106,185 people signed up for ObamaCare nationwide in October, well below expectations from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Officials insisted over criticism from Republicans that the sign-up effort would recover before open enrollment ends in March.
"Every day people are coming through,” Sebelius said of the troubled federal healthcare site. "The experience today is significantly better than it was on Nov. 1, and it's quite a bit better than it was in October."