The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced this afternoon that 106,185 Americans selected a health insurance plan between Oct. 1 and Nov. 2 through exchanges established as part of the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. Of this total, 79,391 stemmed from state-run exchanges, while only 26,794 came through the federally operated website used by 36 states.

These numbers are far lower than the 500,000 that had been initially projected for the first month of operation. Significant technical issues with the federal website, and with several state exchanges, resulted in the disappointing figures.

An additional 975,407 Americans successfully applied for health insurance during the period, but did not select a specific plan. Also, 396,261 individuals have been assessed or determined to be eligible for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stated that the federal government expects "enrollment will grow substantially throughout the next five months, mirroring the pattern that Massachusetts experienced." She added that "the numbers will grow as the website,, continues to make steady improvements."