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Some 828,638 Californians enrolled in health coverage via the state health insurance exchange through the first two weeks of February, officials said Wednesday.

The tally puts Covered California on pace to exceed its projected base enrollment for the first six months of the program through March, Executive Director Peter V. Lee said. Some 626,210 enrollees are eligible for subsidies through January, Lee said, and roughly 8 in 10 have paid their first month's premium.

In a conference call with reporters, Lee stressed the goal is not meeting projections but making sure everyone is covered.

The exchange has made progress in enrolling young people and Latinos, he said. Enrollment of Spanish-speakers represented about 11.5 percent in January, compared with 5 percent during the first three months of enrollment. Exchange officials have outlined several initiatives to boost enrollment among Spanish-speakers and Latinos.

Sign-ups among 18-to-34 year olds also increased slightly to 26 percent. Federal officials have said they need 40 percent of enrollees to be under age 35.

PHOTO: The executive director of Covered California, Peter V. Lee, speaks to members of the media during the launch of Covered California in Rancho Cordova on Oct. 1, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Randall Benton.



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