How America is fairing with two days of open enrollment left

With two days left until open enrollment closes on and state insurance exchanges, industry officials are upping their marketing and outreach efforts to ensure Americans sign up for health insurance.

Officials expect a last-minute rush from consumers this weekend, as was the case last April during the final days of the first open enrollment period, reported the Huffington Post.

During the past weeks, enrollment events have swept the nation. Enroll America organized 1,110 events in 109 cities across 11 states, while payers such as Health Care Service Corp. increased TV advertising. Last weekend, HealthCare Access Maryland held a six-hour event featuring enrollment counselors, noted the article.

Traffic on, which has been running more smoothly the second time around, was up 58 percent Wednesday compared to the same time last week, federal officials announced Wednesday. Additionally, calls to the site's hotline have increased 37 percent, the article said.

Around the country, southern states have experienced nearly a 100 percent increase in enrollment compared to last year--Texas, Louisiana, South Carolina and Mississippi have each seen 80 percent more sign-ups than last year, according to The Hill.

What's interesting about these states' success is the fact that each have Republican governors who have done the bare minimum to promote open enrollment, noted The Hill. Outreach efforts have fallen into the laps of state and national healthcare advocacy groups--and they seem to be working.

All told, from Nov. 15 through Feb. 6, nearly 7.5 million Americans used the federal marketplace to buy a new insurance plan or renew an exisitng plan, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services. States leading the pack include Florida, with nearly 1.4 million sign-ups, and Texas, with just over 1 million.

Some states running their own exchange are extending the deadline to sign up in order to reach their targeted numbers. Covered California, for instance, may give consumers until Feb. 20 to enroll, reported the Los Angeles Times. Since Nov. 15, 1.3 million residents purchased plans. The state is trying to reach a goal of 1.7 million for this enrollment period.

For more:
- here's the Huffington Post article
- read The Hill article
- here's the HHS announcement
- check out the LA Times piece