About 5,700 Ohioans pick health plans

By Marc Kovac R-C Capital Bureau Published:

COLUMBUS -- More than 51,000 Ohioans submitted applications through the federal government's online health coverage marketplace during the first two months of operation.

A total of 5,672 residents selected plans during that time, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The results for activities on the website (Healthcare.gov) are up from 24,000 applications and 1,150 coverage selections made during the first month of enrollment.

"More and more Americans are finding that quality, affordable coverage is within reach and that they'll no longer need to worry about barriers they may have faced in the past -- like being denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition," said U.S. Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Critics, however, say the results are too low.

"The president's health care law has driven up costs, reduced choices and resulted in the cancellation of over 5 million health care plans that the president promised the American people they could keep," Republican Congressman Jim Renacci said earlier this week.

"… Though we know that problems with the president's health care law run far deeper than a broken website, it also is our responsibility to ensure that we reduce the negative effects of the law. It is time for the administration to update Congress and the American people on its efforts to correct serious back-end issues within its government-run health care system that could potentially be disastrous for insurers and Americans everywhere."

According to statistics compiled by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, about 1.5 million of Ohio's 11.3 million residents have no health insurance, and 812,000 Ohioans are poised to enroll in coverage.

Nationally, 1.8 million applications seeking coverage for nearly 3.7 million people were completed over the past two months. A total of 364,682 people selected insurance plans during that period.

The number includes applications and plan selections made in states operating their own system and others from some three dozen others, including Ohio, that deferred to the federal exchange to assist consumers in the purchase of health insurance coverage.

In Ohio, applications were submitted to cover more than 96,000 residents.

Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at mkovac@dixcom.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.

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