Obamacare Enrollment In Oklahoma Low As Deadline Nears

Wednesday, March 12th 2014, 5:51 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

The March 31 deadline for Obamacare is nearing, but the latest report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows only a small percentage of Oklahomans have signed up.

The report released Tuesday show only 32,882 Oklahomans have signed up on healthcare.gov. More than 600,000 thousand are eligible, so that's one person that has signed up in every twenty.

3/11/2014 Related Story: Oklahoma's Obamacare Enrollment Slows As Deadline Nears

Tyler LaReau is an insurance agent in Norman and has been walking clients through healthcare.gov. He and his staff say the stigma surrounding the Affordable Care Act is the number one reason why clients who come to him don't want to sign up.

"I would say there is a lot of fear and resistance," said Leslie Christopher, the marketing director for LaReau.

Christopher says folks are also intimidated by the process, and concerned about the cost. Statewide, 8,215 Oklahomans enrolled last month, fewer than January or December.

But Christopher says they have been busy signing clients up before the March 31 deadline. And those clients are finding a lot of those fears are unfounded.

"They come in terrified and they leave happy and satisfied," Christopher said. 

According to the federal government nearly 80 percent of Oklahomans who have enrolled in Obamacare care qualify for tax subsidies on their premiums.

Most Oklahomans must have health insurance by March 31 or they could face a fine. However, there are exemptions for some low-income Oklahomans and Native Americans. If you have health insurance -- from your employer or Medicare or Medicaid -- you're already covered.

3/10/2014 Related Story: OKC Woman Blames Obamacare For Husband Losing Insurance