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Indiana signups lag for federal health care law

May 1, 2014

More than 40 percent of Indiana residents who could have chosen an insurance plan in the first year of the health care overhaul didn't enroll before the deadline, according to government figures released Thursday.

Data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services show that a total of nearly 230,000 Indiana residents were eligible to enroll in a marketplace plan, but only about 132,000 had done so by the March 31 deadline.

Even so, the enrollment figures exceeded estimates from the federal government, which had projected that 125,000 Indiana residents would sign up by the deadline.

Nearly 30 percent of those signing up in Indiana were ages 55 to 64. About one-fourth were 18 to 34. Nationally, the government said that 28 percent of those who selected a Marketplace plan were young adults.

Fifty-six percent of the Indiana residents who enrolled were women, and 44 percent were male. That is nearly the same as the national figure.

Nationally, the Obama administration says 8 million Americans chose a health plan.

Indiana chose not to set up a state health insurance exchange. Before taking office in 2013, Gov. Mike Pence said that setting up an exchange would cost the state too much money, and then-Gov. Mitch Daniels made Pence's stance official by notifying the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in 2012.

Daniels said he ceded the decision to his successor because the new system would go into effect during Pence's term.

Pence estimated that building the online marketplace, which would resemble Travelocity, would cost $50 million.

The bigger question for many of Indiana's poorer residents is what will happen with the state-run Healthy Indiana Plan. Pence has submitted a request to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services seeking to use the state-run program in place of a traditional Medicaid expansion. The state is still waiting on an answer to its request.

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