Approximately three million Americans have signed up in Obamacare's private insurance plans, the White House announced on Friday.
Those figures mark a continued rise in enrollments since the administration's “tech surge” to repair the botched healthcare.gov website, but are still behind the target of signing up 7 million by the end of March. 800,000 signed up in January alone.
“With millions transitioning to new coverage already, we continue to see strong interest nationwide from consumers who want access to quality, affordable coverage,” said Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner in a blog post touting the new numbers.
But despite the enrollment numbers, critics of the health care law note that the administration has failed to sign up enough young and healthy consumers -- needed to offset older, sicker Americans.
In January, the administration said that a quarter of those who had signed up for Obamacare were between 18 and 36 — far behind the White House target. The administration had initially projected that 40 percent of enrollments by the end of March would be in that young demographic group.
“As our outreach efforts kick into even higher gear, we anticipate these numbers will continue to grow,” said Tavenner on Friday, “particularly as we reach even more uninsured young adults so that they know that new options and new ways to help eligible individuals pay for their premium are now available, thanks to the Affordable Care Act.”
She added that between October and December “over 6.3 million individuals were determined eligible to enroll in Medicaid or CHIP through state agencies and through state-based Marketplaces.”
The 3 million figure represents those who have signed up for insurance through federal and and state-run exchanges since Oct. 1, when the administration began enrollment.
But numerous questions remain, including the number of consumers who have actually paid their first month’s premiums.
The online site to register consumers in Obamacare's insurance exchanges was launched in October with numerous technical issues leading to low initial enrollment and weakening public support for President Obama and his signature domestic achievement.
The administration launched a drive to boost enrollment during the holidays and said that 2.1 million had enrolled by the end of 2013. But the enrollment drive was marked by numerous delays of key deadlines and by pressure on insurers to allow consumers additional time to make their premium payments.
Republicans also argue that new Obamacare regulations which have forced many insurers to drop consumers from their plans could result in a net decline of insured Americans.
White House press secretary Jay Carney hailed the new enrollment numbers, saying they showed "significant progress."
This story was published at 11:30 a.m. and was updated at 2:18 p.m.
White House Correspondent Brian Hughes contributed to this report.