The federal health insurance marketplace has identified almost 2,800 Oklahomans as eligible for a state Medicaid program, but it's unknown whether any of them have signed up for the program.
Since Oct. 1, 2,747 Oklahomans have applied for health insurance coverage through the federal marketplace and been identified through their applications as eligible for either Medicaid or the children's Medicaid program — but the federal government has not finished creating a system to transmit that information to Oklahoma's Medicaid agency.
The federal health insurance marketplace was created through the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, and serves as a resource for people without health care coverage to enroll in private health insurance.
Oklahoma is one of 36 states that chose to use the federal health insurance marketplace, rather than create its own state-based marketplace.
Ideally, when people apply for coverage and are eligible for Medicaid, their information would be seamlessly transmitted to the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, Oklahoma's Medicaid program that largely serves low-income children.
However, that has yet to happen.
Jennie Melendez, a spokeswoman at the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, said the federal government's Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has told the agency that it will complete the system by the week of Jan. 20.
“That date just keeps getting pushed back,” she said.
Media outlets in other states have reported similar issues.
Kaiser Health News reported Monday that in five states alone — Florida, Texas, Illinois, South Carolina and Arizona — about 148,000 people are still waiting to get enrolled in the public programs after trying to sign up through Healthcare.gov.
“The Healthcare.gov website used by 36 states has been unable to transfer income and other data from applications to the state agencies that run Medicaid, the state-federal program for low-income adults, and the children's insurance program,” Kaiser Health News reported. “As a result, tens of thousands of applicants have been left in limbo — without coverage that was supposed to begin Jan. 1.”