Almost 25,000 Oklahomans have selected a health insurance plan through the federal health insurance marketplace, a system created through the Affordable Care Act, according to data released Wednesday.
Nationwide, almost 3.3 million people selected marketplace plans from Oct. 1, 2013, through Feb. 1, including 1.4 million in the state-based marketplaces and 1.9 million in the federally run marketplace, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“These encouraging trends show that more Americans are enrolling every day, and finding quality, affordable coverage in the marketplace,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement. “There is still plenty of time for you and your family to sign up in a private plan of your choice, so visit HealthCare.gov to learn more and sign up. Open enrollment ends March 31.”
Marketplaces were created through the Affordable Care Act, sometimes called Obamacare.
Oklahoma leaders chose not to build a state-based exchange, meaning residents can enroll in private health insurance plans through the federally run marketplace, available at HealthCare.gov.
Federal officials did not have data on the number of Oklahomans who had paid their premiums after enrolling in a plan. Officials on a call with media Wednesday also did not provide data on the number of Oklahomans who did not receive coverage through Jan. 31 because they hadn't paid their premiums after enrolling.
Of the 24,667 Oklahoma residents who have chosen plans:
76 percent qualified for financial assistance, subsidies that help pay for coverage.
Most of the 18,715 residents who qualified for that assistance chose silver plans, which generally covers 70 percent of expenses. Only 1 percent chose platinum plans, which cover 90 percent of expenses and are generally the most expensive plans.
More residents who did not qualify for financial assistance chose bronze plans, generally the least expensive plan option which also covers 60 percent of expenses.
About 26 percent of residents who have selected a plan were 18- to 34-year-old residents. Meanwhile, about 31 percent were ages 55 to 64.
A majority of residents, 65 percent, have chosen a silver plan. Only 2 percent have chosen the costliest platinum plan, which covers 90 percent of expenses.
About 6,000 residents have chosen stand-alone dental plans.
About 63,400 residents in Oklahoma have been determined eligible to enroll in a marketplace plan, meaning they've accessed the marketplace but haven't yet chosen plans.
Among those residents, about 32,100 were deemed eligible to enroll in a marketplace plan with financial assistance, according to Health and Human Services data.
About 9,750 residents have attempted to enroll in the marketplace and were told they or their family members were eligible for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program.
Until Wednesday, those residents were in a type of holding pattern, said Jennie Melendez, Oklahoma Health Care Authority spokeswoman.
Melendez said the federal government's system to send those residents' information wasn't able to send the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, the state's Medicaid agency, that data in a usable format until Wednesday.
Because of that, about 20,000 applications have been on hold, growing in numbers since October when the federal health insurance marketplace launched.
Health care authority staff will receive those applications from the federal government in waves, and staff members will use the information the residents have entered on HealthCare.gov to assess whether they're eligible for Medicaid.
Melendez said the agency does not anticipate that it will have 20,000 new members in the next month.
“These aren't all going to be eligible folks,” Melendez said. “We have already run into cases where they're already in our system or they were in our system and their membership expired or they now make too much money. We still have a lot of work to do as far as assessing the quality of the data, but we just now are able to access those applications.”