LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It has been three weeks since Louisiana's Medicaid expansion took effect and in that time, the Lake Charles region has become a stand-out in the state.
At a news conference Tuesday in Lake Charles, Louisiana Department of Health Secretary, Dr Rebekah Gee, announced the Lake Charles region is leading the state in Medicaid enrollment since the roll-out of Healthy Louisiana July 1.
"Of the area's of the state, Lake Charles has done the best at signing people up for Medicaid," said Dr. Gee.
Enrollment in the newly expanded Medicaid program started in June and coverage began July 1. Since then more than 259,700 adults statewide have enrolled in the program that provides full medical coverage - doctor and hospital visits, emergency services, laboratory and x-ray services, maternity and newborn care, mental health and substance abuse treatment, prescription drugs, rehabilitative services and supplies, medical transportation to appointments and vision care.
"There were about 20,000 people in this area that were uninsured and now we have 14,000 of those people enrolled," said Dr. Gee.
That is 69 percent of those eligible for coverage, particularly people who have fallen in the gap of working, but unable to afford insurance.
"70 percent of these people were full-time workers and just with the minimum wage that they were receiving were not making enough to pay for insurance through the exchange or for the Obamacare insurance," said Dr. Gee.