About 7,500 Iowans have health plans from exchange

DES MOINES (AP) — Nearly 7,500 Iowa residents have signed up for health insurance plans using the federal enrollment website HealthCare.gov, according to figures released Monday.

The numbers from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services cover Oct. 1 through Dec. 28 and show that enrollment came mostly in December. Only 757 Iowans successfully enrolled in private health insurance plans using the website in October and November, the first months it was available.

In all, the federal website received about 29,099 applications to cover about 44,453 people in Iowa. Of those people, 24,975 were determined eligible for a marketplace plan and about 7,475 have selected a plan and signed up. About 81 percent of those who have enrolled qualified for tax credits to cover part of the premium costs.

Another 17,843 have been deemed eligible for low-income health programs like Medicaid. But due to delays with the federal government getting complete data to the state, not all of those people are yet enrolled.

Iowa is among 36 states using HealthCare.gov as their insurance marketplace. Nationally, about 2.2 million people have enrolled in plans using the federal website.

Older adults make up more of the Iowans enrolling in plans, with 38 percent of the enrollees are between the ages of 55 and 64; 22 percent of those signed up for plans are between 18 and 34. That mirrors national figures, which also show more older Americans signing up.

President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul is designed to reduce the number of people without health insurance, both through an expansion of Medicaid and with new health care marketplaces where people can shop for private coverage and apply for government aid to pay premiums.

Problems plagued the website after its Oct. 1 launch, but authorities appear to have mostly resolved the glitches. Enrollment continues until March 31.