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Covered California enrollment surged again in December

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 03:  Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Health Subcommittee on Captiol Hill March 3, 2011 in Washington, DC. Sebelius testified on the HHS FY2012 budget and the implementation of  health care reform laws, including the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Kathleen Sebelius
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

The US Department of Health & Human Services  (HHS) released statistics Monday that show a signficant surge in the number of Californians signing up for health coverage through Covered California, the state-run marketplace.

As of Dec. 31st,  nearly 499,000 Californians had signed up for insurance through Covered California. That means three-and-a-half times as many people enrolled in December as did in all of October and November combined

Government officials had expected the pace of enrollment to pick up as the late December deadline to sign up for Jan. 1 plans neared.

Of those selecting a plan in December, 53 percent were women and 47 percent were men, according to the HHS data.

Additionally, 25 percent of all enrollees fell into the coveted 18 to 34 age group,  a four percent uptick from the cumulative October and November numbers released by HHS. 

 Members of this group -  known as the Young Invincibles  - are important because they are typically healthier, which is considered key to helping keep down insurance costs.

Covered California officials say they will have a more detailed breakdown of these numbers this week.