Latest enrollment figures show that 32,855 West Virginians signed up for 2017 coverage under the Affordable Care Act as of Dec. 24, 2016.
Of those, over 26,821 were returning consumers. The enrollment rate is about the same as it was last year. More people nationwide signed up for coverage than during the same period in previous years.
On a conference call Tuesday, senior officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services used the latest figures to advocate against the potential repeal of the ACA that is being discussed in Congress.
"Over the past few years, we've heard repeated claims that the health insurance marketplace is in a 'death spiral.' Congressional leaders have reiterated those claims in just the past couple of weeks," said Aviva Aron-Dine, a senior official with the HHS, in a statement at the beginning of the call. "As a simple factual matter, we can now declare these claims false. "
West Virginia is one of the states that has seen the sharpest drops in the uninsured rate under the ACA, and officials said it would be one of the most impacted if the ACA were repealed, seeing its uninsured rate triple.
Open enrollment continues through January 31. Consumers have until January 15 to sign up for coverage that begins February 1.
Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Benedum Foundation, Charleston Area Medical Center and WVU Medicine.