Number Of Arkansans Approved For Private Option Nears 200,000

Aug 8, 2014

The number of Arkansans enrolled in the private option continues to grow. The Arkansas Department of Human Services said Friday that as of the end of July,192,210 had been determined eligible for the program. Spokeswoman Amy Webb says of those, about 183,000 have completed the enrollment process.

"Over the last month, we saw about 6,000 new people determined eligible and really, part of that reflects some aggressive casework on our part," Webb said. "We had a lot of pending applications because they needed additional verifications, so people needed to submit additional documentation to prove income or citizenship or other things, and our folks have been working very hard to process those cases and get them through the approval process."

The private option uses federal Medicaid money to buy private insurance for lower income Arkansans. It was created by the Arkansas Legislature last year as an alternative approach to expanding coverage under the Affordable Care Act.  A three-fourths vote was need to create it and the same margin will be needed next year to continue it.

The latest figures come the same week as a Gallup report that said Arkansas has cut almost in half the number of residents without healthcare coverage.