Enrollment in the health insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act is now meeting original projections. 88,602 people in Illinois have signed up for new policies through February 1st, which matches the targets set by the federal government before the marketplaces opened. Until now, enrollment had failed to meet expectations, which Jim Duffett, executive director of the Campaign for Better Health Care, attributes to two factors: the well-documented problems of the initial rollout and public misconceptions.
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“Like ‘do (the marketplaces) really exist?’ ‘Well, I thought the Republicans repealed that, didn’t they repeal it?’” Duffett said. “I mean, you know, there’s that element, but once people start to, you know, they cross that and they understand no, this is available.” Duffett believes another factor is simply procrastination, as people have until March 31st to select coverage or face a fine next year. He says marketplace navigators working for his group are anticipating a big rush of applicants before that deadline.