About 61,000 sign up for private insurance in WA

SEATTLE (AP) - About 61,000 Washington residents have signed up for private insurance through the state's new health care exchange since it opened on Oct. 1. But 43,000 of them need to finish enrolling by paying for their new health coverage that is set to begin in January.
   
State officials say another 150,000 Washington residents have signed up for free insurance through Medicaid. Of that group, more than 80,000 had no health insurance before qualifying for Medicaid.
   
Before health care reform went into effect, an estimated one million Washington residents did not have health insurance.
   
Officials at the exchange are expecting a spike in completed enrollments in December. Their goal is to have 130,000 people buy private insurance in time to have coverage on Jan. 1.
   
About 50,000 people have started the process but have not signed up for insurance.

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