Nearly 60,000 Maine residents signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act through Jan. 9, according to federal data released Wednesday.

With a month of open enrollment still remaining, 59,126 Mainers have chosen a plan through, the U.S. Department and Health of Human Services announced. That far outpaces the more than 40,000 Maine residents who signed up during all of last year’s enrollment period, the inaugural sign-up opportunity under the health reform law.

It’s also nearly double the 36,000 Mainers who signed up through the health insurance marketplace during the first month of open enrollment, from Nov. 15 to Dec. 15.

Nationally, nearly 6.8 million Americans have chosen a plan or automatically renewed an existing plan through since Nov. 15, according to HHS.

Open enrollment continues through Feb. 15. But HHS officials urged consumers to sign up by Thursday for coverage to take effect by Feb. 1. Most of those who fail to enroll by mid-February will have to wait until next year to get coverage.

The majority of Mainers get health insurance through their jobs or government programs, such as Medicaid and Medicare, and aren’t eligible to buy plans on The site is geared toward a smaller group — those who purchase their own health coverage in the “individual market,” such as the self-employed and part-time workers. Those consumers historically have faced some of the highest prices and skimpiest coverage.

I'm the health editor for the Bangor Daily News, a Bangor native, a UMaine grad, and a weekend crossword warrior. I never get sick of writing about Maine people, geeking out over health care data, and...