ObamaCare enrollment tops 1 million

More than 1.1 million people enrolled in ObamaCare before a Dec. 24 deadline for consumers seeking healthcare plans that begin Jan. 1, the Obama administration said early Sunday.

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Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said in a blog post that more than 975,000 people enrolled in a qualified health plan through the federal marketplace in December, following a rocky rollout in October.

Tavenner called the late surge “welcome.”

“Our HealthCare.gov enrollment nearly doubled in the days before the January 1 coverage deadline compared to the first few weeks of the month,” she said. “December enrollment so far is over 7 times that of October and November. In part, this was because we met our marks on improving HealthCare.gov: the site supported 83,000 concurrent users on December 23rd alone.”

Tavenner said administration officials expect to see enrollment ramp up through the six-month open enrollment period, “much like other historic implementation efforts we’ve seen in Massachusetts and Medicare Part D.”

Detailed demographics were not released.

"The data does show that less healthy people are signing up. Younger people are signing up less frequently than hoped,” former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D) said Sunday on "Fox News Sunday."

The former Democratic National Committee chairman also said he believed President Obama's signature healthcare reform law would be "running a lot more smoothly" by March. The administration said Friday that HealthCare.gov adequately handled a massive surge of Internet traffic ahead of Tuesday's deadline.

“There's no question that, over this past weekend, Monday, and Tuesday, HealthCare.gov met the mark and did exactly what it was supposed to do — helping Americans from across the country find secure, quality health insurance coverage at an affordable price,” CMS spokeswoman Julie Bataille said in a statement.

Bataille said that in the four days leading up to the Dec. 24 enrollment deadline, response times averaged half a second, and error rates were at less than 1 percent.

— Jonathan Easley contributed to this report, which was originally published at 7:16 a.m. and last updated at 11:14 a.m.