Almost 33,000 Oklahomans have selected private health insurance plans through the federal health insurance marketplace, according to federal data released Tuesday.
The number of Oklahomans who have selected coverage through the marketplace has increased from 346 residents in October, the first month of open enrollment, to 32,882 residents who have selected plans between Oct. 1 and March 1.
Additionally, 78,444 Oklahomans have been told they were eligible for coverage after seeking out private health insurance plans through the marketplace. However, those residents have not all selected plans.
Federal leaders have touted growth seen in the national enrollment numbers as well.
“Over 4.2 million Americans have signed up for affordable plans through the Marketplace,” U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a news release Tuesday. “Now, during this final month of open enrollment our message to the American people is this: You still have time to get covered, but you’ll want to sign up today — the deadline is March 31st.”
The federal health insurance marketplace, which can be found online at HealthCare.gov, was created through the Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare.
Federal leaders have not released data on the number of Oklahomans who have paid for the coverage they’ve selected. The data that Health and Human Services releases each month, instead, includes the number of residents who have selected plans or been deemed eligible to enroll in a plan.
The deadline to sign up for coverage is March 31.
However, residents who are American Indians can enroll in a private health insurance plan at any point and do not have to enroll during open enrollment. Also, residents who have a “qualifying life event,” such as marriage, a birth of a child or loss of coverage, can enroll outside of open enrollment
The majority of Oklahomans who have selected plans — 78 percent — qualified for financial assistance, or tax credits they receive to lessen the total amount they must pay for coverage, according to federal data.
Meanwhile, private insurance companies in Oklahoma selling coverage through the marketplace have not released enrollment numbers since open enrollment began Oct. 1.
In mid-February, 21,780 Oklahoma residents had enrolled with one of the companies providing coverage, although the state Insurance Department could not release which company was providing that coverage. That number, at the time, represented 88 percent of marketplace enrollments.