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      Ark. signs 62K people for state health insurance

      LITTLE ROCK (AP) - More than 66,000 Arkansans have applied for health insurance under the state's expansion of the Medicaid program as part of the federal health care overhaul.

      The state's Medicaid director told legislators on Thursday that of those, just over 62,000 applications have been approved.

      The Public Health Committee also heard from state Insurance Commissioner Jay Bradford, whose office says there are 71 available health plans from four insurance companies.

      The availability varies depending on where someone lives in the state. People living in central and northwest Arkansas have access to 41 of the health coverage plans. People in southeast and southwest Arkansas have only 11 plans available.

      Bradford says he expects more companies will enter the system and more plans will be available in coming years.

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