DOVER, Del. (AP)- Delaware officials reported Thursday that 1,145 people have enrolled in the state's new health insurance exchange and paid their first premiums under the federal health care reform law.
Officials said another 3,183 people, as of Jan. 3, had chosen one of the health care plans offered on the exchange but had not yet paid for coverage.
Meanwhile, federal officials have identified 5,732 Delawareans as potentially eligible for Medicaid coverage, including under an expanded Medicaid program that Delaware adopted in conjunction with the Affordable Care Act. State officials are still trying to complete final eligibility determinations for those individuals.
Separately, officials said 1,058 other Delawareans have qualified under Delaware's Medicaid expansion, which boosts the income threshold for eligibility.
State officials have said they hope to enroll 35,000 of the estimated 90,000 uninsured Delawareans in private insurance plans under the exchange, but the number of paid enrollments as of Jan. 3 is less than 3.5 percent of that goal.
Delaware Health and Socials Services Rita Landgraf said Thursday that she didn't know whether officials would meet their 35,000 enrollment target.
"I don't know just yet," she said.
Officials also reported that four community organizations that have hired "marketplace guides" to help people enroll in Delaware's exchange have reported helping 216 clients pick insurance plans. It's unclear how many of those 216 actually have paid for coverage and enrolled.
The four marketplace guide organizations received more than $4 million in federal funds to hire marketplace guides, which works out to more than $18,500 in taxpayer costs for each possible enrollee they have reported so far.
Open enrollment continues through March 31.
Meanwhile, officials are planning new outreach efforts aimed at younger Delawareans, whose participation and insurance premiums are critical for the financial viability of the health care reform effort.
Landgraf reported Thursday that people aged 21 to 30 - the so-called "young invincibles" who may not think they need health insurance - account for only 13 percent of enrollees in Delaware's exchange.
"I actually didn't think that was bad this early in the game," she said.
More than half the enrollees are ages 51 to 64, an age range in which people are more likely to have pre-existing or chronic health problems.
Other demographic data indicate that almost two-thirds of enrollees in the exchange are in New Castle County, and only 12 percent in Kent County.
Landgraf said officials likely will target Kent County for additional outreach and marketing efforts.
Landgraf also noted that many Delawareans remain "misinformed" about the health care reform effort, thinking, for example, that there is a difference between "Obamacare" and the Affordable Care Act.