ST. PAUL (AP) - Rising health insurance premiums and Minnesota's novel financial help program have driven record enrollment in private health plans.

Officials at the state's exchange announced Thursday it had signed up more than 117,500 residents during 2017's open enrollment period. That's up by more than a third from last year.

The spike in insurance signups comes amid uncertainty at the federal level and the state's unique effort to offset skyrocketing premiums. Minnesota lawmakers used $312 million in rainy day funds to buy down monthly rates for shoppers who don't get federal subsidies.

MNsure chief executive Allison O'Toole says 41,000 will receive that relief. That figure doesn't included shoppers who bought coverage directly through health plans or insurance agents.