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Just 5 people enrolled in new DC health plans

Friday - 11/8/2013, 8:12pm  ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Two Republican senators say just five people have enrolled in health insurance plans through the District of Columbia's new insurance exchange.

Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah are critics of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. They say many Americans are having their health insurance canceled but have been unable to enroll in a new plan. They say the numbers from the district back that up and show that the requirement for individuals to buy insurance should be delayed.

District officials say nearly city 22,000 residents had their insurance policies canceled after the health care law took effect.

Officials with the district's health exchange say the enrollment numbers don't tell the whole story. People aren't counted as enrolled until they pay their first premium.

However as of Oct. 21, 321 accounts had selected a health plan for enrollment. Because a single account can represent individuals, couples and families the number of people covered by those plans could exceed 1,000, according to D.C. Health Link.

Health Link says that more than 12,200 District residents had created personal accounts with the exchange service. And 426 small businesses had created accounts.

"Our data show that District residents and small business owners are doing exactly what we hoped they would do - they are taking the time to research their options and make decisions about health insurance," Health Link spokesman Richard Sorian said in a written statement. "We are very pleased with the strong, enthusiastic response from the residents and small business owners in the District to date."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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