OK Officials Pushing Medicaid Plan that includes Premiums

Mike Seals - April 23, 2020 10:25 pm

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma officials are pushing forward a Medicaid plan that would charge premiums and impose employment requirements on newly eligible low-income recipients.

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority on Monday submitted the state’s Healthy Adult Opportunity waiver application to the federal government. The waiver, if approved, would potentially help greenlight Gov. Kevin Stitt’s plan to expand health insurance coverage for low-income residents set to be implemented on July 1.

The waiver would impose monthly premiums of $10 for individuals and $15 for families, with some exceptions. It would also require participants to work, volunteer or go to school for at least 80 hours monthly.

During the public comment period on the plan SoonerCare 2.0, the Health Care Authority received more than 2,000 emails asking questions about the waiver, suggesting changes or providing comment on the proposal, according to Deputy State Medicaid Director Traylor Rains. Nearly 640 people attended at least one of four virtual meetings held for public comments.

“This is another step in our SoonerCare 2.0 plan to reduce the number of uninsured Oklahomans and improve health outcomes while still maintaining fiscal responsibility for Oklahoma taxpayers,” Stitt said in a statement. “Even during this time of immense change due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to move forward in our efforts to create a healthier Oklahoma.”

Meanwhile, State Question 802 offers voters on June 30 another Medicaid expansion option, which doesn’t entail work requirements or premiums. If that question passes, the waiver and SoonerCare 2.0 would be null and void.

The Trump administration’s Healthy Adult Opportunity waivers empower the states with more control over Medicaid in exchange for a limit on how much the feds kick in.

In Oklahoma, Stitt’s waiver would extend health coverage to an estimated 144,285 people in the first year, while 151,879 would receive benefits under a traditional expansion, according to the Health Care Authority.


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