Oklahoma Experts Report Low ACA Enrollment Among Uninsured

Wednesday, March 12th 2014, 8:07 pm
By: News On 6

The Affordable Care Act aims to insure all Americans.

But here in Oklahoma, more than 17 percent of the state is still without insurance as the March 31 enrollment deadline draws near.

We look into the numbers new this evening to see why more uninsured Oklahomans aren't signing up.

Federal data shows that before the Affordable Care Act 700,000 Oklahomans were uninsured.

In Tulsa County, nearly 115,000 people were without insurance.

Now, under the Affordable Care Act, 25,000 Oklahomans have enrolled in the marketplace.

That's only 3.5 percent of all uninsured Oklahomans. That's why there's a push to get more Oklahomans enrolled.

"We've had quite a few people actually come in, enroll, send in their premiums and are using their insurance as of today," Indian Health Care Resource Center of Tulsa's Jenifer Hamma said.

Hamma advises and signs up Oklahomans for the new healthcare plans and averages an enrollment a day.

"There's a long way to go," Hamma said. "I don't think people realize how affordable some of the plans actually are, and it deters them from enrolling."

This healthcare group is one of more than 80 in the Tulsa area trying to insure the 675,000 Oklahomans still without insurance.

"It's a bit alarming because this is a serious situation," Melissa Parchman said. "People need health insurance. Possibly they haven't been able to get to a person that could help them, or maybe they just feel like they couldn't qualify."

Melissa Parchman with Magoon and Associates Insurance was at Eastar Hospital in Muskogee Wednesday offering free enrollment advice to anyone who would take it. Like Michael Berry, who spent hours trying to enroll online on his own.

"If you go on there and mess with something for four to six hours and you get nowhere, are you going to go back there the next day and do it again?" Michael Berry said.

Berry is uninsured, and has missed 10 years of doctor's visits.

Getting enrolled changes his life.

"Only time I check my blood pressure is when I go to Walmart," Berry said. "It'd be nice to get a peace of mind and know where your health is actually at."

Click here to find help with enrollment