LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Arkansans for Care) — Statewide enrollment numbers released Monday by the Department of Human Services points to success for the Private Option with nearly 70 percent of Arkansans eligible for the Private Option signed up in the first sixth months.
One such eligible Arkansan, Jennifer Lewis of Little Rock, who works as a substitute teacher and set up her first doctor's appointment in three years earlier this month. For the first time in nine years, Lewis said, she has peace of mind. "I was finally able to get the much needed antibiotics to help with a serious health problem and also have a mammogram, all thanks to the ACA," she said.
A total of 155,567 of the estimated 225,000 Arkansans who qualify for health insurance through the Private Option applied and were determined eligible as of March 31.
Robert Klintworth of Hot Springs, is another Arkansan enjoying new health insurance coverage. Klintworth suffered a back injury four years ago and directly following the injury discovered his employer had not been current with insurance payments. This unfortunate realization left him with very few options. "I thank God and the legislators of Arkansas for the Private Option, because I am now receiving the care I needed," he said.
Statewide, 61 percent of the Arkansans enrolled are women, and 64 percent are 19 to 44 years old. This reflects a younger population than those getting coverage through the federal insurance marketplace, according to Arkansas Medicaid Director Andy Allison.
Just one example of this younger population, Jenny Ball of Jonesboro, a college graduate who is 31, healthy, and intends to be a part of the healthy coverage pool. "I am so thankful that Arkansas stepped up as the only state in the region to expand Medicaid coverage," Ball said. "I feel for my friends in Texas and Alabama who have slipped through the cracks and have no coverage even though they live in poverty," Ball added.
Unlike the Health Insurance Marketplace where open enrollment ended March 31, people eligible for the Private Option can continue to apply throughout the year.