Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma has submitted a Qualified Health Plan application, along with rates, for certification in the federally-facilitated exchange for 2018. This is an initial indication that, for the second straight year, only one insurer in Oklahoma will offer exchange products in the individual market.
“There is an incredible amount of uncertainty in the market right now,” said Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak. “Insurers participating in Obamacare have experienced major losses. While we expect a full repeal of this disastrous experiment, insurers have to go by the regulations in place right now. That’s why we’ve seen so many insurers dropping out of exchanges across the country or resorting to double digit premium increases.”
The Oklahoma Insurance Department does not have statutory authority to approve or deny rate increases filed by insurers on the federal exchange. Oklahoma, along with Texas and Wyoming, is a direct enforcement state with no authority to enforce provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) intends to post information on proposed rate filings for consumers to review on ratereview.healthcare.gov on August 1. In compliance with state statutes, OID cannot release or comment on the rates until that time. CMS officials will review the proposed rate changes, determine if they are justified and post final rate information on November 1 in time for open enrollment.
State Question 756, passed in 2010, amended the Oklahoma Constitution to prohibit laws which compel individuals, employers and providers to participate in health care systems.