Nov. 13—The deeply troubled federal and state-run health insurance markets garnered about one-fifth of their planned applicants in the first month of enrollment, federal health officials announced.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Wednesday that 106,185 people selected private insurance coverage and another 396,261 applicants qualified for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) in October through the marketplaces, also known as exchanges.

Another 975,407 applicants have made it through the process by applying and receiving an eligibility determination, but have not yet selected a plan.

“We expect enrollment will grow substantially throughout the next five months, mirroring the pattern that Massachusetts experienced,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a release. “[These are] also numbers that will grow as the website, HealthCare.gov, continues to make steady improvements.”

The private insurance enrollments amounted to about one-fifth of the 494,620 people federal officials projected would sign up for health insurance by Oct. 31, according to released administration documents.

The number enrolled in private plans is likely lower than 106,000 because this figure includes people who have not yet officially enrolled by paying the first month’s premium.

The 14 state-run marketplaces garnered most of the private plan enrollments. State-run marketplaces garnered 79,391, or 75 percent, of the approved applicants. Similarly the state-run exchanges enrolled 212,865, or 54 percent, of the successful Medicaid/CHIP applicants.

Federal officials emphasized that low enrollment echo the early low enrollments in other large federal healthcare initiatives, such as the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), Medicare Part D, and CHIP.

Publication Date: Wednesday, November 13, 2013