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A fraction of eligible Oklahomans have enrolled in 'Obamacare'

by Jaclyn Cosgrove Published: November 14, 2013
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“We expect enrollment will grow substantially throughout the next five months, mirroring the pattern that Massachusetts experienced,” she said. “We also expect that the numbers will grow as the website, HealthCare.gov, continues to make steady improvements.”

By the numbers

There are likely many more Oklahomans who are eligible to buy coverage in the health insurance marketplace.

An estimated 256,000 Oklahomans are eligible for financial assistance available for people who meet certain income guidelines, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Based on the numbers released Wednesday, 1,432 Oklahoma residents who have applied for coverage through the marketplace were determined eligible for financial assistance, a fraction of the people who are eligible throughout the state.

Additionally, an estimated 446,000 Oklahomans are eligible to enroll in health insurance through the marketplace, including uninsured residents and people who buy nongroup insurance, according to the Kaiser data.

The deadline to select and pay for health insurance through the marketplace is Dec. 15 for people who would like their health insurance coverage to start Jan. 1.

On Wednesday afternoon, Rep. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, said the numbers that the federal government released Wednesday were troubling, considering the number of Oklahomans who have received cancellation notices on plans they liked and wanted to keep.

“More people drove through my local Sonic in Oklahoma City today at lunch than have signed up for Obamacare in Oklahoma since October 1,” Lankford said in a news release.

Blatt said Oklahoma and many other Republican states will likely see low numbers of enrollment, at least at first, based on the political discourse and mood of those states regarding Obamacare.

“The relentless assaults on the Affordable Care Act from our political leadership have created a strong sense of opposition and hostility among many people who would benefit the new availability of affordable coverage,” Blatt said. “Even if everything was working perfectly on day No. 1, it was going to be an uphill battle to educate Oklahomans about the law and how it works and how they may be eligible for subsidies that will allow them to get quality coverage at an affordable price.”