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3,500 in FL Persevered

About 3,500 Floridians selected a health plan for 2014 on the federal Health Insurance Marketplace last month, only a tiny fraction of the 3.8 million uninsured in the state, new data show. But that was expected, since the the balky website crashed on launch and has worked only intermittently.

Nationwide, 106,000 were reportedly enrolled in the Affordable Care Act's Health Insurance Marketplace, all but 27,000 of them through state-sponsored exchanges.

Florida chose to let the federal government handle it. Of the states that did, its enrollment was highest, with Texas second at just under 3,000.

As theTampa Bay Times reports, Republicans in Congress used the low numbers to bash President Obama. The White House tried to  put the best possible face on the numbers, pointing out that nearly 1 million got as far as creating an account on the site, indicating there is ample pent-up demand for the products.

The Times reported the story of one of the success stories: Beverly Borelli, 61, of Tarpon Springs.

"She started trying the day the site opened, and refused to quit, even through website crashes, enrollment packages that never arrived in the mail, and hours spent on the phone. The process took her more than a month," the Times reported.

"Borrelli purchased a Florida Blue mid-tier 'silver' plan for $27 a month after her subsidy. Jan. 1, she will have insurance for the first time since her employer of 27 years laid her off in June. Suffering from painful arthritis, Borrelli feared not being able to afford care, especially from her orthopedist.

"She has already paid her first month's premium, and says she's glad to be insured despite the hassle.

"I wasn't going to give up," she said.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.