traffic spikes as deadline looms


Activity increased dramatically last week as the number of consumers submitting applications and picking plans nearly doubled.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that about 974,000 people applied for coverage between Nov. 29 and Dec. 5, while about 619,000 people chose plans.


The figures represent a marked uptick from the week before, when about 520,000 applied for coverage and about 303,000 people chose plans.

In total, about 1.38 million consumers have picked a health policy on the federal exchanges since they opened on Nov. 15.

Forty-eight percent are new consumers, while 52 percent are current enrollees renewing their coverage, HHS said.

HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell praised the heightened activity at in a statement.

"Open enrollment’s momentum is building, and I’ve seen that firsthand as I traveled the country and talked to people," she said.

The growth comes before the Dec. 15 deadline for consumers to buy coverage that becomes active on Jan. 1.

User volume typically peaks ahead of deadlines.

Roughly 3 million users visited the site between Nov. 29 and Dec. 5, with about 98,000 visiting its Spanish-language counterpart,

HHS is hoping to sign up 9.1 million people for coverage this year.