This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
More than 109,000 Utahns have signed up for 2015 health insurance through the Obamacare federal marketplace 36 percent more than signed up in all of 2014.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday that 109,218 Utahns so far have arranged coverage via HealthCare.gov. That includes at least 28,000 newly covered Utahns, as well as those who re-enrolled or were automatically renewed as of Jan. 9.
The open enrollment deadline for those who want insurance this year is Feb. 15.
Alicia Hobson, whose attempt to get insurance last year was bungled by bureaucratic mistakes, says she was able to get insured more easily this time around.
A navigator from Community Health Connect in Provo, a TakeCareUtah.org partner, met her at the library near her Lehi home, and helped her with some of the questions on HealthCare.gov, she said.
"I even decided to splurge and get dental insurance," said Hobson, who cannot afford the $500-per-month insurance her employer, a call center, offers.
Dental coverage added $15 per month to the $75 per month she'll pay for her and her daughter, who apparently qualifies for Medicaid even though last year that was not clear.
Last year, Hobson was told insurance for the two of them would be $200 a month.
"It's still not a walk in the park," she said, noting that her daughter's application for Medicaid from the state of Utah was rejected because of a paperwork issue to do with Hobson's 2012 self-employment income. She's reapplying this week, though, and is confident it will go through.
Most Utahns signing up are getting federal subsidies for their insurance under the Affordable Care Act, the HHS news release said.
Enrollment via HealthCare.gov started Nov. 15, and of those Utahns who signed up in the first month, 89 percent got federal financial assistance.
Jason Stevenson, communications director for Utah Health Policy Project, said the enrollment numbers reflect what's been going on at UHPP and at Take Care Utah, a partnership of organizations funded by the federal government to help people sign up for health care.
"It tracks with the busy enrollment in our office and across the Take Care Utah network," he said.
One big difference from last year, Stevenson noted, is the ease with which most people are signing up at HealthCare.gov.
"This year, people are signing up in an hour. There are not as many glitches," he said.