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May 2, 2014

69K in Oklahoma enrolled in new insurance plans

TULSA — More than 69,000 Oklahomans have selected health care plans on the new insurance markets created by the federal health overhaul, according to data released Thursday by President Barack Obama’s administration.

The government reported that 69,221 Oklahomans signed up for a plan between Oct. 1 and March 31. The figure demonstrates “brisk demand for quality, affordable coverage,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said.

Earlier enrollment numbers showed that only 32,882 Oklahomans had chosen a plan through March 1 — well below the Obama administration’s goal of 84,000 enrollees for the state.

Supporters of the new health plan marketplace touted the enrollment figure, given that Oklahoma offered no help promoting the exchange and wouldn’t announce community activities designed to get more people signed up.

“Just knowing those facts, (the total enrollees) are a little bitty miracle in Oklahoma,” said Grace Burke, director of senior outreach and education who oversees the marketplace enrollment program for Morton Comprehensive Health Services in Tulsa. Her group was helping would-be enrollees in the final two days of enrollment.

—AP

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