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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498
Email: jill.fredel@delaware.gov

Date: March 6, 2014


DOVER (March 6, 2014) - More than 9,000 Delawareans have enrolled in health care coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace and the state's expanded Medicaid program, Secretary Rita Landgraf of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services said today.

As of Feb. 28, nearly 7,000 state residents had signed up for coverage through the Marketplace, a 38 percent increase from the previous month, Landgraf said at the monthly meeting of the Delaware Health Care Commission. Another 2,168 people had enrolled in Medicaid coverage, a 55 percent increase from the month before.

"The numbers continue to head in a positive direction, which is very good to see," Landgraf said. "The marketplace and the Medicaid expansion are having an impact on Delaware's residents. New enrollees who haven't been to the doctor in years are telling us about getting physicals and connecting to medical 'homes' for ongoing care, including prevention that will reduce their risk of developing serious health problems."

Landgraf acknowledged that some residents continue to experience difficulty enrolling, especially those waiting to find out if they qualify for Medicaid. "We are working doubly hard to eliminate the backlog of these cases so that individuals can get their coverage either through Medicaid, if they meet the income eligibility criteria, or by purchasing a policy off of the marketplace. On behalf of my DHSS personnel, we are very grateful for the patience and understanding of Delawareans as we make our way through that case backlog."

Under the Affordable Care Act, almost every American is required to have health insurance or face a financial penalty. In 2014, March 31 is the last day to enroll in coverage. For those who fail to obtain coverage this year, the penalty will be $95 per person ($47.50 per child under 18) or 1 percent of annual household income, whichever is higher. (Only the amount above the tax filing threshold of $10,150 is used to calculate the penalty.) The penalty increases every year. For 2015, it's the higher of 2 percent annual income or $325 per person. For 2016, it's 2.5 percent of income or $695 per person.

March 15 is the last day to enroll for coverage to begin April 1. Those who enroll between March 16 and March 31 will have coverage effective May 1.

For more information, including a list of enrollment events staffed by Delaware's marketplace guides, go to www.ChooseHealthDE.com. To enroll directly, go to www.HealthCare.gov or call 1 (800) 318-2596. To view Secretary Landgraf's complete presentation, go to: dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dhcc/presentations.html

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.