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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • More than 10K North Dakotans enroll in marketplace

  • The number of North Dakotans who chose health plans through the new insurance marketplace during open enrollment fell slightly short of projections by President Barack Obama's administration, according to statistics released Thursday.
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  • The number of North Dakotans who chose health plans through the new insurance marketplace during open enrollment fell slightly short of projections by President Barack Obama's administration, according to statistics released Thursday.
    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a report Thursday with enrollment figures that cover most of the open enrollment period that ended March 31. It showed that 10,597 North Dakotans signed up for private plans through the health exchanges, which was more than double the numbers reported through March 1.
    The federal government had projected that 11,000 North Dakota residents would enroll during the six-month period.
    "The last couple of weeks were especially busy," said Neil Sharpe, who headed up a group of 15 navigators who helped people sign up for the exchange. "There were some hang-ups from the standpoint of people who did not use a computer, but the website worked very well toward the end."
    The health care law requires nearly every American to have insurance coverage or pay a tax penalty of either $95 or 1 percent of income, whichever is higher.
    Data show that 16,627 North Dakotans were found eligible to enroll in a marketplace plan, and 11,974 were eligible to receive financial assistance for those plans. Of North Dakota's 10,597 enrollees, 52 percent are female and 48 percent are male.
    North Dakota had a good showing from young people who signed up for insurance, with 19 percent of the enrollees under the age of 18. Only Arizona, with 21 percent, had a higher figure.
    The rest of the age breakdown in North Dakota is 8 percent between ages 18-25, 18 percent between 26-34, 14 percent between 35-44, 16 percent between 45-54, and 25 percent between 55-64.
    Sharpe noted that the final numbers of North Dakotans applying for Medicaid are expected to be similar to the number of people who accessed the marketplaces.
    "Both populations have an awful lot of people that are covered who weren't otherwise," he said.

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