According to new figures released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there's been a 53 percent increase in the number of people signing up for health care plans on the health insurance marketplace in January. In the southwest, Texas has seen the biggest increase in sign ups among its neighbors.
Between December and February, Texas saw a 75 percent increase in the number of people signing up for health plans; Arizona: 55 percent; and New Mexico: 51 percent.
As for the types of plans people are buying, the federal government shows that about 20 percent of the population in New Mexico and Texas purchased bronze plans - the least expensive - while 18 percent of Arizona residents purchased platinum plans - that's one of the highest numbers in the nation.
In the 18 to 34 age range - the demographic officials say is critical to making the Affordable Care Act work - Texas again leads the southwest with 27 percent of health insurance sign ups under the age of 34, while Arizona trails its neighbors with only 18 percent of sign ups within that age range.
At this time officials say they're focused on educating the public on the importance of signing up for coverage through the exchange, and still have not released data on race and ethnicity of buyers.