Insure Oklahoma gets its funding

Governor Mary Fallin and the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) announced that federal funding for the Insure Oklahoma program has been secured through the end of 2016.

Insure Oklahoma is the state’s premium assistance program that helps businesses and their modest and low-income employees afford health insurance coverage. The program, which has been in operation since November 2005, currently serves 17,923 Oklahomans with more than 3,700 businesses participating.

“This funding extension is great news for the thousands of working Oklahomans and small businesses that rely on Insure Oklahoma for affordable health insurance options,” said Fallin. “Our goal moving forward continues to be securing a permanent extension for this successful, Oklahoma-based program.”

Insure Oklahoma is funded by state tobacco tax matched by federal Medicaid dollars. OHCA received notification (from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) advising that federal funding for the program would continue through 2016.

“We want Oklahomans to know that Insure Oklahoma is open for business and we stand ready to help with their insurance needs,” said OHCA Chief Executive Officer Nico Gomez. “I appreciate our Insure Oklahoma and other OHCA employees for keeping this program moving forward and available for many working Oklahomans.”

Insure Oklahoma currently has two options. The employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) part of Insure Oklahoma pays at least 60 percent of the premiums for private market health insurance policies.  Participating employers pay at least 25 percent of the qualified employee’s monthly premiums, and the employee pays no more than 15 percent of their health premium. The program also assists with premiums for the employee’s spouse.

Insure Oklahoma Individual Plan (IP) is for Oklahomans working for small businesses that do not have access to group coverage and who earn less than the federal poverty level, as well as those who are temporarily unemployed and seeking work.

More information about Insure Oklahoma is available at www.insureoklahoma.org.

Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak applauded the funding extension of Insure Oklahoma through 2016.

“Insure Oklahoma is one of the first programs of its kind in the nation,” Doak said. “Thousands of Oklahomans have health insurance thanks to the program. It was very important for the federal government to recognize the value that Insure Oklahoma provides for our citizens, and this decision shows that our state’s leaders have shown that value convincingly.”

Rep. Glen Mulready, R-District 68, who chairs the House Insurance Committee is also expressing his support.

“Extending the funding for Insure Oklahoma proves that states can develop innovative options for Oklahoma businesses,” said Rep. Mulready. “I’m very happy to see this program continue to succeed.”

Almost 18,000 Oklahomans are enrolled with more than 3,700 business participating.