In the Carolinas, there was a massive increase in enrollment last month in the federal health insurance marketplace or exchange that's part of the Affordable Care Act. That's according to federal data released Monday.
Almost 100,000 North Carolinians used the federal marketplace to sign up for health insurance in December. That's 11 times more people than in October and November combined.
In South Carolina, more than 21,000 people signed up for coverage last month. That's almost eight times as many people as from the first two months.
And for the first time, the federal government released details on the mix of people enrolling. That's crucial – the Obama administration is aiming for about 40 percent of all the people who sign up to be between 18 and 34 years old. If the mix is too far off, premiums will rise, and the whole system might not work.
In the Carolinas, only 23 percent of the folks who've signed up fall into that crucial category. That's low but on par with the national average.
The Obama administration says it expects a higher percentage of young people to sign up over the final few months of enrollment. That's what happened when Massachusetts went through similar changes in the 2000s.