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Health sign-ups surged in final weeks

WASHINGTON — The number of people signing up for health insurance through the federal marketplace soared in the final weeks before the enrollment deadline, exceeding the total number who had signed up in the prior five months, the Obama administration said Thursday.

The late surge brought the total number of people enrolled through federal and state exchanges to more than 8 million.

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For the first time, the administration provided some information about the racial and ethnic background of people signing up. Of the 3.8 million people in the federal exchange who voluntarily disclosed such information, officials said, 63 percent were white, 17 percent were black, 11 percent were Latino, and 8 percent were Asian.

Of those buying insurance in the exchanges, 2.2 million, or 28 percent, were young adults age 18 to 34. Insurers covet people in that age bracket because they tend to be healthier and file fewer claims than older consumers.

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