Delaware sees late surge in health insurance enrollment

 (AP Photo/U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

(AP Photo/U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

More than 18,600 Delawareans registered for health care coverage by April 15, the final deadline of the 2014 Affordable Care Act enrollment period. 

Because of a wide variety of problems linked to the health insurance marketplace website, those who had at least initiated the process of securing health insurance prior to the original March 31 deadline were granted an extension to mid-April to complete their applications.

The Delaware Dept. of Health and Social Services reported 3,062 marketplace enrollments between April 1 and April 15, bringing the total number of sign-ups to 14,397. 4,217 others enrolled as newly-eligible clients under the state’s expanded Medicaid program.

The grand total of enrollments: 18,614.

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Of these, DHHS Secretary Rita Landgraf said that more than half of the state’s total enrollment occurred in the final month and a half.

“These numbers are further evidence of the great surge of interest among Delawareans as the marketplace’s first open enrollment period ended,” Landgraf said. “It’s clear that as word spread about the coverage available on the marketplace, more Delawareans rushed to meet the deadline to sign-up.”

Coverage for the people included in this latest surge was effective May 1. 

With the exception of life-changing events, such as having a baby, it is too late to obtain health insurance for 2014. However, individuals who qualify for Medicaid can enroll throughout the year.

Delaware expanded its eligibility for Medicaid from 100 percent to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, which amounts to about a $16,100 annual salary for an individual.

In February, Landgraf said that there were more than 90,000 uninsured residents in Delaware. She was unsure how many of those currently enrolled were previously uninsured.

“We currently have no data that lets us identify who was insured and who wasn’t,” Landgraf said. “That was a missed opportunity on the application.” 

The next open enrollment period will run from Nov. 15, 2014, to Feb. 15, 2015.

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