DOVER, Del. (AP) — Fewer than 1,000 Delaware residents have enrolled in the state’s new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) health insurance exchange plans, but officials said Monday that the enrollment process is improving.
Delaware Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf told the state health care commission that 793 Delawareans had chosen an insurance plan under PPACA as of Dec. 12 and had paid the first month’s premium. The announcement marks the first time officials have said how many Delawareans have actually paid for exchange coverage.
Last week, federal officials reported 431 enrollees in Delaware as of Nov. 30. That figure included people who had not paid their first premiums.
Landgraf said the new enrollment number reflects “positive momentum.” Nevertheless, the number of enrollees still represents less than 2.5 percent of the 35,000 Delawareans that officials have said they hope to enroll.
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“This is a critical time relative to enrollment in the Delaware health insurance marketplace,” Landgraf acknowledged, noting a Dec. 23 deadline for enrolling for coverage effective Jan. 1. Insurance carriers are required by federal officials to accept initial premium payments through Dec. 31 for coverage starting Jan. 1, she added.
Landgraf said many Delawareans have enrolled on their own after consulting with one of four community organizations hired with $4 million in public funds to teach people about PPACA and help them enroll for coverage. Landgraf was unable to say how many enrollments were reported by those “marketplace guide” organizations, a number that officials have been reluctant to provide, despite weekly meetings with those organizations. The most recent numbers provided by state officials showed only four enrollments reported by the marketplace guide organizations.
Working with those organizations, officials plan a “dramatic push” of outreach activities over the next week to help people enroll by Dec. 23, said Landgraf, who expects enrollments to spike in late March just before open enrollment ends.