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Local & Regional

More Than 50,000 Oklahomans Signed Up For Medicaid Expansion The 1st Week

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Photo courtesy of Oklahoma Watch
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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — More than 51,700 Oklahomans have qualified for Medicaid since enrollment began this week under an expansion of the program that voters approved last year, state officials said Friday.

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority, which oversees the Medicaid program, reported that 51,708 Oklahomans have already qualified for benefits, including about 30,000 from urban areas and more than 21,000 from rural Oklahoma. Enrollment opened June 1, and benefits will begin July 1.

After a decade of Republican resistance, Oklahoma voters narrowly approved a constitutional amendment last year to expand eligibility for benefits. Now, an individual who earns up to $17,796 annually, or $36,588 for a family of four, qualifies for Medicaid health care coverage.

The Health Care Authority has projected that about 215,000 residents would qualify for expanded Medicaid for a total annual cost of about $1.3 billion. The estimated state share would be about $164 million. But those numbers could be considerably higher given the number of Oklahomans who lost their jobs and work-related health insurance because of the economic shutdown amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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