A majority of those who have applied for health care through Covered California are English speakers, Los Angeles County residents and between ages 55 to 64, who likely qualify for Medi-Cal, according to figures released Thursday.

More than 360,000 people completed applications through Covered California since the state health care exchange opened for business on Oct. 1. Those include residents who qualified for government subsidies. But despite the progress of steady enrollment extolled from the board room of Covered California, state Republicans were quick to say that more people were seeing policies canceled than there were applying for health insurance.

"This is a clear indicator that our enrollment system is working, demand for health care coverage is strong, and Californians are embracing the benefits offered by the Affordable Care Act," Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee said.

Lee made the statement the same day the Covered California board decided to uphold the Dec. 31, 2013, deadline for health insurance companies to discontinue plans that don't meet the standards of the Affordable Care Act, even though President Barack Obama in a speech last week said he would allow the deadline to be extended. The board's decision means at least 1 million Californians will see their polices canceled by year's end, some noted.

But board members said extending the deadline would only create confusion about accessing health care coverage through Covered California. Instead, they offered several strategies to encourage higher enrollment rates, such as extending the deadlines to apply, establishing a hotline at 855-857-0445 and targeting the uninsured directly.

"These new strategies will provide consumers a better enrollment experience, more flexibility in the selection of a plan and, most importantly, increased knowledge with which to make the best health coverage choice possible," Lee said.

The findings show that of the 360,464 applications completed since Oct. 1, about 39 percent or 135,000 will likely result in Medi-Cal coverage for those who are uninsured or underinsured.

The so-called "young invincibles," also applied for policies in October. Of the 30,830 state residents who enrolled during October, 22.5 percent, or about 6,900, were between 18 and 34 years old. Without the participation of the young, affordable health care for the old and poor loses its balance, officials have said, because the young are healthier, use medical services less and pay more into the system.

Lee called those figures encouraging but acknowledged that some groups could benefit more from face to face contact.

Among the report's other findings for October:

--Among those who completed applications, 26 percent came from Los Angeles County, followed by San Diego County, Orange County and San Bernardino/Riverside counties.

--At least 83 percent of those who completed applications spoke English, while nearly 5 percent spoke Spanish, and 4 percent spoke an Asian or Pacific Islander language.

--Anthem Blue Cross was chosen by 28 percent of those who completed applications, while Kaiser Permanente and Blue Shield attracted roughly 25 percent each of those who chose plans.

But those demographics were overshadowed by Covered California's decision to allow health policies to expire.

"Covered California made the best decision for consumers by supporting the success of our new health insurance marketplace," said Patrick Johnston, president and CEO of the California Association of Health Plans in a statement. "Today's decision comes with a renewed effort to ease the transition process for consumers in the form of a five-step action plan focusing on extending deadlines and increasing enrollment assistance."

But insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, who only a few weeks ago worked to help those with some plans extend their policies for 90 days, was less enthusiastic.

"Over a million Californians have received cancellation notices from their health insurer," Jones said. "On behalf of these policyholders I am disappointed in Covered California's action, which denies individuals and families the opportunity to keep their existing health insurance as President Obama promised."

Meanwhile, California's Assembly Republicans announced plans on Thursday to introduce legislation to allow consumers to keep their coverage for an additional year.

"Americans were told time and time again -- If you like your plan, you can keep it.' Our legislation would simply uphold that promise," said Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway of Tulare in a statement. "It's unacceptable that more Americans are losing their health care than are signing up for it through the exchanges. Democrats promised cheaper coverage for all Americans but that's not what's happening." ___

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  • 1912

    Former President Theodore Roosevelt champions national health insurance as he unsuccessfully tries to ride his progressive Bull Moose Party back to the White House. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

  • 1935

    President Franklin D. Roosevelt favors creating national health insurance amid the Great Depression but decides to push for Social Security first. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

  • 1942

    Roosevelt establishes wage and price controls during World War II. Businesses can't attract workers with higher pay so they compete through added benefits, including health insurance, which grows into a workplace perk. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

  • 1945

    President Harry Truman calls on Congress to create a national insurance program for those who pay voluntary fees. The American Medical Association denounces the idea as "socialized medicine" and it goes nowhere. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

  • 1960

    John F. Kennedy makes health care a major campaign issue but as president can't get a plan for the elderly through Congress. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

  • 1965

    President Lyndon B. Johnson's legendary arm-twisting and a Congress dominated by his fellow Democrats lead to creation of two landmark government health programs: Medicare for the elderly and Medicaid for the poor. (AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

  • 1974

    President Richard Nixon wants to require employers to cover their workers and create federal subsidies to help everyone else buy private insurance. The Watergate scandal intervenes. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

  • 1976

    President Jimmy Carter pushes a mandatory national health plan, but economic recession helps push it aside. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)

  • 1986

    President Ronald Reagan signs COBRA, a requirement that employers let former workers stay on the company health plan for 18 months after leaving a job, with workers bearing the cost. (MIKE SARGENT/AFP/Getty Images)

  • 1988

    Congress expands Medicare by adding a prescription drug benefit and catastrophic care coverage. It doesn't last long. Barraged by protests from older Americans upset about paying a tax to finance the additional coverage, Congress repeals the law the next year. (TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • 1993

    President Bill Clinton puts first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in charge of developing what becomes a 1,300-page plan for universal coverage. It requires businesses to cover their workers and mandates that everyone have health insurance. The plan meets Republican opposition, divides Democrats and comes under a firestorm of lobbying from businesses and the health care industry. It dies in the Senate. (PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • 1997

    Clinton signs bipartisan legislation creating a state-federal program to provide coverage for millions of children in families of modest means whose incomes are too high to qualify for Medicaid. (JAMAL A. WILSON/AFP/Getty Images)

  • 2003

    President George W. Bush persuades Congress to add prescription drug coverage to Medicare in a major expansion of the program for older people. (STEPHEN JAFFE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • 2008

    Hillary Rodham Clinton promotes a sweeping health care plan in her bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. She loses to Obama, who has a less comprehensive plan. (PAUL RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • 2009

    President Barack Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress spend an intense year ironing out legislation to require most companies to cover their workers; mandate that everyone have coverage or pay a fine; require insurance companies to accept all comers, regardless of any pre-existing conditions; and assist people who can't afford insurance. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

  • 2010

    With no Republican support, Congress passes the measure, designed to extend health care coverage to more than 30 million uninsured people. Republican opponents scorned the law as "Obamacare." (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

  • 2012

    On a campaign tour in the Midwest, Obama himself embraces the term "Obamacare" and says the law shows "I do care." (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)