COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- Nearly 155,000 Ohioans picked health plans on the insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act, according to the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.
The number of enrollees is short of the projected 190,000 expected to enroll by the end of March. That was despite the number of enrollees doubling in the final month.
"I think many individuals looked at those plans and said first of all they're too expensive and second they provide the type of coverage I don't need or want," said Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor who heads the Ohio Dept of Insurance.
Another issue is that only about a third of enrollees are under the age of 35. More than half are women and 85 percent are getting federal subsidies to help pay their premiums.
"If you look at the numbers and you assume that every single one of the 155,000 who signed up actually represented somebody who previously was uninsured, that's only 10 percent of Ohio's previously uninsured population," Taylor said.
Almost 286,000 Ohioans were eligible to enroll in a plan.
Organizations who helped enroll residents in health plans, known as navigators, claim in-person assistance was key to getting people to sign up, particularly minorities.
The nonprofit Enroll America said residents were more likely to successfully enroll when they had help from a counselor, compared to consumers who tried to sign up online by themselves.
The federal report also shows that among Ohio residents who voluntarily disclosed their race or ethnicity, 81 percent were white, 11.5 percent were African Americans and about 2 percent Latino.