(Bloomberg) -- Enrollment in the Affordable Care Act’s public health exchanges, a key effort to reach people without health insurance, will start slowly, a senior Obama administration official said.

While the U.S. exchanges begin selling insurance plans on Oct. 1, the medical coverage doesn’t take effect until Jan. 1, a gap that may lead some Americans to hold off on purchases until the last minute, said the official, who asked not to be identified because the person wasn’t authorized to speak on the record. The biggest portion of sign-ups will occur closer to January, the officials told Bloomberg News today.

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