Oklahoma health insurance tips


Oklahoma insurance law and regulation

The Oklahoma Department of Insurance Web site contains a link to the complete text of the state’s insurance laws.  The Web site has not yet developed resources to help individuals find commercial low cost health plans like mini-med or core coverage, specific illness policies, Supplemental Accident Insurance and basic health insurance.

The state insurance department can be reached by telephone at (405) 521-0071 or by mail at P O Box 53408, Oklahoma City OK 73152. The state children’s health insurance plan (CHIP) Web site is Oklahoma SoonerCare.

News that affects your health insurance and planning

June 2, 2019 – Status of alternative non-ACA health plans: Oklahoma does not require individuals to maintain adequate health coverage. The state provides no premium or cost-sharing subsidies for individual market coverage, permits insurers to sell non-compliant transitional policies in the individual market and does not limit the sale of short-term coverage more strictly than the federal government.

March 30, 2019 – One in seven Oklahoma residents lacks health coverage but many in state leadership do not feel that it is the government’s responsibility to offer coverage nor the taxpayers’ responsibility to pay for that care as stated in this new editorial by an Oklahoma state lawmaker. But with health care facilities struggling and even closing under the burden of providing care for the poor without payment, the governor may be changing his stance on expansion of Medicaid and Medicare programs to cover the states’s uninsured.

March 29, 2019 – Small business health plans – Yesterday a federal court in the District of Columbia ruled in favor of states in striking down U.S. Treasury regulations that permitted the expansion of small business association health plans. Even before the court ruling, association health plans were not showing promise as cost-saving measures as was hoped. What this means to small businesses is that if they want a lower cost health plan then they must design it themselves independently from an insurance company. The problem is that most firms providing benefits services are primarily in the business of selling insurance rather than lowering costs. Freedom Benefits offers an affordable consultation to help small business owners design and document an alternate small business health plan without necessarily requiring the purchase of insurance.

3/19/2019- The Oklahoma Health Care Authority Board is being reorganized by the governor this week. This reorganization is expected to have a major impact on access to health care for the state’s residents.

The history of health care planning in Oklahoma (Information is outdated and links may be expired)

12/20/2014 Medicaid expansion is a key element of the Affordable Care Act but this has not been part of Oklahoma’s health care plan. Officials are still considering changes to Insure Oklahoma that are necessary for 2015.

2/11/2014 Professional support for any health care reform issue is available free of charge through an arrangement with OnlineNavigator. All online inquiries are handled personally by Tony Novak, CPA. Online support is available through a number of popular social media channels including Facebook and Google+ as well as e-mail. Telephone support for insurance enrollment is available through Members Insurance Exchange at (800) 609-0683.

7/26/2013 Affordable Smart Term Life Insurance is now available to most Oklahoma residents from age 20 through 60 directly online with no physical exam, agent appointment or telephone verification. Most policies are issued on the same day with coverage amounts of $25,000 up to $350,000. The level premium life insurance is available for terms of 10, 15, 20 and 30 years. Sample rates for $150,000 coverage for a preferred risk male age 30, non-tobacco $30.85 per month; tobacco user $49.55 per month. A preferred risk female age 30 non-tobacco user would be $26.49 per month and a tobacco user would be $40.96 per month. Rates are higher for older applicants and lower health risks as described online. Pricing is based on input you provide about your medical history but, unlike most other life insurers, does not consider family medical history. Coverage is issued by innovative National Life Group, rated “A” by A.M. Best Company for 2013.

3/11/2013 This page was updated to include a link to the insurance plan that will be used to determine specific “essential health benefits” for insurance that qualified for 2014 federal tax purposes. Also, a link to additional covered benefits required by state law. Non-qualified insurance is likely to continue to be available at a lower cost that does not include these benefits nor qualify for federal tax purposes.

3/8/2012 Oklahoma legislature temporarily halted plans for a state-run health insurance exchange in the hope and anticipation that the federal Supreme Court will rule the law known as “Obamacare” unconstitutional later this year. Governor Mary Falin is quoted in a statement saying “I accept the Legislature’s decision and I remain extremely hopeful that the U.S. Supreme Court will do the right thing and rule the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. In the event that it does not, I still believe that establishing a free market, Oklahoma-based online health insurance marketplace that protects consumer choice is the best defense against a federally run exchange.” Additional information and Associated Press coverage is posted on the Freedom Benefits universal health insurance blog.

2/1/2012 The Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, a division of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)reported that as of June 30, 2011 Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma is the state’s largest health insurance provider and as such, earns the right to set the benchmark for the development of the state’s essential benefit plans to debut in 2014 under health reform law.

2/17/2011 The Oklahoma Health Care Authority was granted more than $55 million by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to develop the Oklahoma Health Infrastructure and Exchange initiative. It will leverage tools such as the web-based real time claims processing provider service portal created in 2003 by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority. Providers may now enroll or re-enroll with SoonerCare Online Enrollment using the provider service portal.

2/12/2011 With dozens of health plans choices available online offering a wide range of pricing and benefits, how do you find the best combination of price and benefits? Celtic Insurance realizes that the choices can be overwhelming; the company offers more than 40 possible health plan designs in many parts of the United States. A new feature called “Help Me Choose” lets users easily and quickly select the benefits they value most and narrows the list down to a few of the best choices. No personal information is required other than zip code and date of birth.

1/30/2011 Patients with health insurance and a credit card now have access to VIP treatment when care is needed at a hospital emergency room. St. Anthony Hospital in Oklahoma City joined the growing list of hospitals that allows patients to use InQuickER, a reservation system that books appointments and reduces waiting time in the emergency room. The reservation system makes check-in easier by recording your insurance and payment information in advance. The service costs $15 to $25. Of course the nature unpredictable medical emergencies mean that the service cannot absolutely guarantee that you’ll be seen immediately at your appointment time, but you get a full refund if not treated within 15 minutes after arrival. The InQuickER service works in conjunction with any of the private health insurance plans listed here at FreedomBenefits.net but is not available to uninsured patients.

12/16/2010 Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services officials met representatives of 44 other states and numerous employees of the federal Health and Human Services Department in Washington DC this week for a two-day working meeting to discuss the next steps in establish a government-run health insurance exchange under the American Health Benefit Exchange Model Act. Their attendance at this meeting was paid for by a $1 million federal grant awarded by HHS in September to the state for research how to set up an insurance exchange. Two states (Alaska and Minnesota) declined to participate, saying that it was a waste of taxpayer money. Four other states (not identified in press reports) that received federal grants did not send representatives to the meeting. Attendees included representatives of 16 states that are suing the federal government in an attempt to overturn the federal health reform law; specifically the requirement that forces individuals to buy health insurance on the insurance exchange or pay a hefty tax fine.

In its initial federal grant request for the insurance exchange project, Oklahoma said that it would: 1) Convene a large stakeholder group to establish guiding principles and participate in a decision-making framework process, and 2) Gather existing research, studies and data on aspects of Oklahoma’s health care system including the uninsured, access to care, public coverage programs, insurance products offered, and insurance market trends and regulations.

The meeting reportedly did not address the role of the commercial health insurance exchanges on the implementation of new competing government systems. The model act does not address inter-state insurance exchange proposals nor insurance sales across state lines. Federal officials admitted that they may not be able to provide further guidance until 2012. Meanwhile, most states are motivated to continue to meet requirements to obtain additional funding promised by the federal government for the establishment of insurance exchange by 2014. Freedom Benefits has previously voiced the opinion that the huge amount of money being spent to set up alternate insurance sales system technologies could be better used providing health benefits to the public. We proposed on the Universal Health Insurance blog that adequate commercial insurance sales systems are already in place that could be modified in a public/private partnership to make health insurance more affordable.

11/8/2010 Oklahoma is poised to lead the nation in repeal of Obamacare after John Doak unseated the newly elected vice-chairman of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) in last week’s public election. Doak supports freedom of choice and individual responsibility in meeting personal financial issues. We agree; and will support Oklahomans in all ways possible to be an example for the nation.

5/14/2010 Diabetes Coverage: A new resource to help find health insurance for diabetics in Oklahoma is now available at Freedom Benefits.