March 19, 2015
OHCA Contacts: Jo Kilgore - (405) 522-7474, Cate Jeffries - (405) 522-5616
Ten years, thousands of lives: Insure Oklahoma celebrates milestone in keeping Oklahomans healthy
Gov. Mary Fallin proclaims March 23-27 "Insure Oklahoma Week"
Debbie Guinn echoes the sentiments of many working Oklahomans who pay for health insurance with the help of Insure Oklahoma, the state’s premium assistance program for businesses and employees: “I don’t really know what I would do without it.”
Guinn is one of thousands of Oklahomans who have received assistance from Insure Oklahoma since it launched in 2005. To celebrate the program’s 10th year in bridging the health coverage gap facing some lower-income workers, Gov. Mary Fallin issued an executive proclamation declaring March 23-27 “Insure Oklahoma Week.”
“Insure Oklahoma is a key part of our effort to improve health outcomes in Oklahoma and improve quality of life,” Fallin said. “It was developed by Oklahomans, for Oklahomans, and serves as a national model of an innovative public-private partnership to provide health care coverage for thousands of working adults in our state.”
Fallin’s proclamation can be viewed on the Oklahoma Secretary of State’s website. During “Insure Oklahoma Week,” the Oklahoma Health Care Authority plans to share stories on the agency’s Facebook and Twitter pages from businesses and individuals, like Guinn, who credit the program with making it possible to access quality health care.
“Since 2005, Insure Oklahoma has helped more than 9,500 businesses offer health coverage to their employees,” said Nico Gomez, Oklahoma Health Care Authority CEO. “Insure Oklahoma’s successes have built a strong foundation for the future of the program.”
Insure Oklahoma is funded by the state’s tobacco tax matched with federal funds. It is currently authorized to operate through December 31, 2015, and state officials continue to work toward a solution for long-term sustainability.
Today, nearly 4,000 businesses and almost 18,000 lower-income Oklahomans are enrolled in either Insure Oklahoma’s Employer-Sponsored Insurance (ESI) plan or Individual Plan. Under the ESI plan, private health premium costs are shared by Insure Oklahoma (60 percent), the employer (25 percent) and the employee (15 percent). The Individual Plan allows those who don’t have access to health insurance through their employer -- including the self-employed, temporarily unemployed and college students -- to buy health benefits directly through the state.
The Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) administers Oklahoma’s Medicaid program, known as SoonerCare, and Insure Oklahoma, a premium assistance program funded by tobacco tax revenue. SoonerCare works to improve the health outcomes of Oklahomans by ensuring that medically necessary benefits and services are responsive to the health care needs of our members. Qualifying Oklahomans include low-income children, pregnant women, seniors, the disabled, those being treated for breast or cervical cancer and those seeking family planning services. All must meet income guidelines. Insure Oklahoma assists qualifying adults and small business employees in obtaining health care coverage for themselves and their families. OHCA works with our current 820,902 members, our statewide network of 41,101 health care providers and numerous state and local partners to promote responsible health care service utilization, healthy behaviors and improved health outcomes. For more information, visit www.okhca.org or www.insureoklahoma.org.