The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced that 4,124 Missourians received health insurance coverage through the federal government’s online marketplace from Oct. 1 to Nov. 30, The Associated Press reported. At the end of November, 31,474 state residents had applied for coverage for approximately 62,964 people.
However, Ozark Public Radio KSMU, a local radio station, asserted enrollment numbers would be higher if rural residents had the same access to internet and application assistance.
“One of the really great things about the Affordable Care Act and these health insurance marketplaces is that it allows for a place for … individuals and families running that family farm, to purchase health insurance, and get the benefits of that large employer, group buying – and really get a more affordable price for health insurance,” Ryan Barker, a healthcare policy analyst in Missouri, told KSMU.
Missouri is one of 36 states that declined to use a state-run insurance exchange model and rather directed shoppers to the Healthcare.gov website to enroll in the Affordable Care Act. The state legislature, heavily populated by Republican lawmakers, drafted a ballot measure that called for a largely hands-off approach to facilitating operations in the marketplace. Last year, the voters approved the policy that prohibited “assistance or resources of any kind” from state insurance officials to the federal government, unless required and authorized under federal law, the AP reported.