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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California’s health insurance exchange said Monday that it has a backlog of 25,000 paper applications that must be processed by Dec. 23 for the applicants to get health insurance starting in the new year, a daunting process that threatens to leave some people who applied for insurance weeks ago without coverage.

The applications came from individuals, insurance agents and health exchange agents who were unable to access the online portal in the first few days after the exchange opened on Oct. 1, said Roy Kennedy, a spokesman for Covered California, the agency that runs the health exchange. He said the agency has been working to process the applications since then.

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