70,000 Oklahoma Children are Without Health Insurance, Many Could Qualify for SoonerCare

KTUL - May 7, 2024 5:54 am

With the recent Medicare expansion in the state, more Oklahomans can qualify for SoonerCare.

Right now, the state of Oklahoma estimates about 70,000 children in Oklahoma do not have health insurance.

Of those, about 35,000 would likely qualify for SoonerCare.

Healthcare advocates say the biggest barrier to enrolling those children is parents often assume if they don’t qualify for SoonerCare, neither will their children, but the threshold is different for parents versus children.

Like the adult programs, the parameters for children to qualify are based on the size of a household and monthly or annual income, but with a higher threshold.

Health advocates say it’s important to get the word out to families who may not be aware of this benefit to help get young Oklahomans insured so they can lead healthier lives.

In fact, the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) said the more people with health insurance, the fewer we see go to emergency rooms because they are often keeping up with regular doctor visits and catching illnesses, diseases, or underlying health issues early enough to address.

“Without health insurance far too many Oklahomans do avoid going to the doctor and that causes some of those symptoms some of those illnesses to get worse and by the time they do go to the doctor it’s a much more costly procedure or treatment,” Joe Dorman, CEO of Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy, said.

Dorman said without health insurance a procedure could cost thousands of dollars out of pocket.

Overall, he said health insurance promotes a healthier, wealthier state by encouraging regular visits and maintaining overall health therefore avoiding costly emergency procedures for both patients and hospitals.

But it’s important to get the word out.

Over the past year, OICA, in partnership with the Oklahoma Health Care Authority distributed over 110,000 enrollment information pamphlets to families in 20 rural counties including Wagoner, Okmulgee, Muskogee, and 17 more.

So far, the effort to get the word out is working, more than 81,000 children were newly enrolled in SoonerCare between February 2023 and February 2024.

Like the adult programs, the parameters for children to qualify are based on the size of a household and monthly or annual income, but with a higher threshold.

Health advocates say it’s important to get the word out to families who may not be aware of this benefit to help get young Oklahomans insured so they can lead healthier lives.

or call 1-833-465-7526 to speak with a representative who will assist you with filling out the application.

 

 

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