November 14, 2013
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Only 346 Oklahomans managed to enroll for health insurance last month by using the problem-filled federal website for President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, according to figures released on Wednesday.
The enrollment statistics released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services were even lower than recent estimates for the 36 states, including Oklahoma, that are using the federal insurance exchange.
The statistics show nearly 7,000 Oklahomans completed applications for health insurance coverage for policies to cover more than 14,000 individuals. As many as 250,000 Oklahomans are eligible for tax subsidies to purchase policies through the exchange.
The federal website has been mired with problems since it went live Oct. 1, but administration officials have said HealthCare.gov will be running smoothly for the vast majority of users by Nov. 30.
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said it was “embarrassing” that the federal website has been plagued with problems and expressed concern about Oklahomans losing coverage who may not be able to sign up for health insurance.
“In Oklahoma, for example, there are over 800 men and women with preexisting health conditions enrolled in the temporary high risk pool. All of them will lose their coverage by the end of the year,” Fallin said in a statement. “If the exchange is not functioning properly by December, they will find themselves uninsured.”
Fallin rejected both an expansion of Medicaid and the creation of a state-based exchange that were offered to individual states under the health care law.
The figures released Wednesday showed states that set up their own online exchange fared much better, signing up nearly three times as many consumers.