(Reuters) - The second week of open enrollment in 2015 health insurance plans offered under President Barack Obama's healthcare reform almost matched the pace of the first week, federal health officials said on Wednesday.
Last week, which included the Thanksgiving holiday, 303,010 people chose Obamacare plans from Healthcare.gov. Almost half, 49 percent, were new customers, while the others renewed 2014 policies. From Nov. 15-21, 462,125 people chose health plans; 48 percent were new customers.
The federal website, which serves people in the 35 states that are not operating their own Obamacare exchange, has operated essentially without a hitch since it opened on Nov. 15, in dramatic contrast to the disastrous roll-out a year ago.
Enrollment for 2015 coverage closes on Feb. 15. Current customers who do not actively sign up again by Dec. 15 will be automatically re-enrolled in their 2014 plan, though consumers might find a cheaper or better plan if they comparison shop on the exchange.
"We're encouraging everyone who is already covered through the Marketplace to come back and shop because there could be savings," Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said in a statement.
Last year, Health and Human Services, which runs Healthcare.gov, did not make enrollment data public for weeks. Under Burwell, who took up her new job in June, HHS has promised to release it weekly.
(Reporting by Sharon Begley; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)