170k signed up for 'private option'

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Officials say about 75 percent of Arkansans eligible for the state's Medicaid expansion program have signed up. More than 170,000 people have applied and were deemed eligible for the state's "private option" program, the Department of Human Services said Tuesday. The program uses federal Medicaid dollars to buy private health insurance for the poor. Last month, department officials estimated that around 155,500 people signed up for the health care program, which 225,000 Arkansans qualify for. The Legislature established the program last year as an alternative to the Medicaid expansion envisioned under the federal health care law. Lawmakers reauthorized the program in March.(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)