CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The deadline to enroll in the government backed health insurance plan created by the Affordable Care Act is looming and many still haven’t committed to the program.
“Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield says we’re about 25 percent below where they projected,” said Perry Bryant with West Virginians for Affordable Health Care. “I think they were looking to see something like 20 to 25-thousand people enrolled, we were at about 15-thousand at the first of March.”
Highmark is the only private carrier providing the coverage under the Obamacare program in West Virginia. Bryant said other states have seen many other companies get on board, but in West Virginia there was only one.
“Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield dominates West Virginia marketplace right now. They have about a 70 percent market share of individual and small group market and they have 100 percent,” said Bryant. “It’s not surprising.”
Bryant is encouraging anyone who doesn’t have coverage to go the healthcare.gov and shop the various plans available. The website custom tailors plans to fit a person’s age and income level. He said many are made more affordable when low wage earners can qualify for government subsidies for their coverage.
While many have been slow to register in the new exchanges, West Virginia’s expansion of Medicaid has been a huge hit.
“Enrollment there has gone exceedingly well. We’re a national leader,” Bryant said. “Over 100-thousand low income West Virginians have signed up for Medicaid expansion since October.”