WASHINGTON - Data released by the Obama administration on Wednesday showed nearly 68,500 Coloradans had signed up for health coverage from Oct. 1-Feb. 1.

They chose plans on the state-established Connect for Health Colorado web site, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

California led the nation with just over 728,000 enrollments in that period. Florida was second in with nearly 297,000 and New York was third with almost 211,300.

Across the U.S., 3.3 million people have signed up on insurance "exchanges" set up by 14 states and the District of Columbia and the federal government, the data showed. These marketplaces were required under the Affordable Care Act.

"(It's) very encouraging news," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told reporters. "We're seeing a healthy growth in enrollment ... 53 percent more Americans are signed up today than were signed up at the end of December."

Twenty-three percent of Colorado's enrollees were between the ages of 18 and 34, a key demographic. The law's supporters say the more young people sign up the more coverage costs will come down. The national young person signup total was 25 percent.

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