Oklahoma's ACA Enrollment Seventh Lowest In Nation
TULSA, Oklahoma - Enrollment for round two of the Affordable Care Act is underway, but Oklahomans aren't as eager to sign up compared to other states – less than 15 percent of Oklahomans have insurance through the program.
Oklahoma has the seventh lowest marketplace enrollment in the nation, which is why certified marketplace navigators and other volunteers are hosting educational meetings to try to get more people enrolled.
Ida and Ken Sanders love the insurance plan Ida got through the marketplace in 2014.
"Twenty-two dollars a month," Ken said. “We were very surprised, and very pleased."
Ida didn't have insurance before this year.
Questions About Affordable Care Act
"If she got sick in the time that we didn't have insurance for her, that'd be bad, bad, bad," Ken said.
The Tulsa couple raves about their $22 plan, which fits their $40,000 income; but the insurance provider, Coventry Health Care, is canceling all of its plans in the marketplace. Aetna is also dropping out.
Now, Ida is stuck looking for a plan that's similar.
"We're just concerned that it may go up since our provider is going away," said Ken.
Insurance exchange rates are going up and down all across the country.
Where Will Rates Will Rise, Fall?
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, counties like Washington, Nowata, Mayes, Cherokee, Sequoyah, McIntosh and Okfuskee are expected to see rates rise.
Certified marketplace navigator Donna Orban said insurance plans are changing, but not drastically.
"Insurers drop out, insurers come in across the nation. Plan prices change. Benefits change. So, certainly, people can have plan changes and they need to go in and find out about those," she said.
People without insurance in 2014 will pay a penalty come tax time.
In 2014, the penalty is $95, or one percent of your income - whichever is greater. In 2015, the penalty increases to $325 or two percent of your income.
Ken said, for most people, it's more affordable to just buy insurance.
"It's got a good name: Affordable Care Act. And it's affordable, at least for us," he said.
There are many exceptions to the penalties.
The last day to enroll is February 15th.
If you want to make a special appointment to sit down and look at insurance plans, call 211.