State's private option enrollment keeps growing

LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Department of Human Services says more than 194,000 people have enrolled in the state's Medicaid expansion program that extends health care coverage to low-income residents.

The department said Monday that 194,257 people had completed enrollment in the "private option" program as of Aug. 31. The plan uses federal Medicaid dollars to buy private health insurance for poor residents. Arkansas was the first state given federal approval for such a compromise approach.

The agency says the majority of enrollees are between the ages of 19 and 44.

The program's future is up in the air, pending the outcome of state legislative races in November. The Legislature must reauthorize the program when it meets early next year.

Read Tuesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for more on this story.