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Federal health market surpasses 1 million signups

HONOLULU (AP) - The Obama administration says there's been a "welcome" surge in the number of people signing up for health coverage on the federal insurance exchange.

More than 1.1 million people have now enrolled, with the majority coming days before a pre-Christmas deadline for coverage to start in January.

The figures do not include December results from the 14 states running their own exchanges, but the combined total appears likely to fall short of the administration's initial projections that 3.3 million would be enrolled by the end of the year.

Of the 14 states running their own websites, California, New York, Washington, Kentucky and Connecticut have done well, but others are still struggling.

One insurance industry consultant says the Obama administration now has the "front end" of the federal health insurance exchange working well, so the next question is whether people really want to buy the coverage offered.