Oklahoma health insurance program waiver denied by federal government
Nearly 5,000 Oklahoma employers are to be notified that the state’s Insure Oklahoma program will expire at the end of this year. State officials had reached out to the federal government in order to receive a waiver for the program, but the federal government has denied this request. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the waiver was rejected due to the new health insurance opportunities that would be created through the Affordable Care Act next year.
Small businesses rely on program for health plans
Insure Oklahoma is responsible for the health insurance coverage of nearly 12,000 small business employees throughout the state. The program was designed specifically for small businesses that would have had trouble offering health insurance benefits through private insurance plans. Once the program expires, the small businesses that have relied on it will have to seek other health insurance options. This may not be as problematic as it sounds, however, due to the Affordable Care Act.
Waiver denied due to Affordable Care Act
The federal health care law requires the state to host a health insurance exchange program. This program is meant to make health insurance coverage more available to consumers and businesses. Small businesses are likely to find the coverage plans they need through the exchange or through other state-based initiatives that could be supported through the Affordable Care Act. Some state officials are not eager to allow Insure Oklahoma to die so easily, however.
Lawmakers may look to overhaul Insure Oklahoma
According to the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, Insure Oklahoma may have a chance for survival, though not in its current form. The program would have to undergo changes in order to make it more compliant with the provisions and regulations of the Affordable Care Act. It now falls to the state’s lawmakers to determine whether any efforts should be made to renovate the program.