The Norman Transcript

State/Region

September 26, 2013

Report: Oklahomans can access health plans

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahomans will pay less than the national average for health insurance under an exchange scheduled to open next week as part of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, according to a report Wednesday by the U.S. government.

The report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services projects monthly premiums in Oklahoma will range from $266 for one type of plan to $174 for another before subsidies are applied. Rates will range from about 20 percent to 30 percent below the national average for plans outlined in the reports.

Dave Axene, a fellow of the Society of Actuaries, an educational, research and professional membership organization based in Schaumburg, Ill., said Oklahoma’s lower-than-average medical costs is a chief reason rates will be low.

“Things cost less there,” Axene said. For example, in Oklahoma City, the state’s largest city, the cost of a day of care in the hospital is 75 percent of what it is nationally.

“It’s cheaper in Oklahoma to go to the hospital,” Axene said. He said the cost of seeing a physician is similarly less than average.

The federally run health insurance marketplace opens Tuesday and health insurance enrollment will continue for six months. Coverage begins Jan. 1 for those who sign up by Dec. 15. Oklahoma is among 36 states where the federal government will run the marketplace in 2014.

In November, Gov. Mary Fallin rejected a state-based insurance exchange under the health care overhaul law. Fallin also turned down an expansion of Medicaid to provide coverage to low-income, uninsured citizens.

There are about 600,000 uninsured Oklahomans and about 200,000 would have benefited from the expansion, state officials have said.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius said the reports indicate health insurance plans offered through the exchange will have lower rates than originally projected, making health care affordable for many uninsured Americans. Premiums nationwide will be around 16 percent lower than originally expected.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
State/Region
  • Tampering accusations surface in OKC bombing case

    SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah lawyer suing the FBI over his public records request for surveillance videos from the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing said Tuesday that one of his witnesses backed out after being visited by government officials last ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Christie set to visit state for fundraiser

    OKLAHOMA CITY — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is planning a return trip to Oklahoma after a December ice storm forced him to cancel a scheduled appearance with Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin....

    July 30, 2014

  • Cool snap brings heat relief to Oklahoma, Arkansas

    OKLAHOMA CITY — The dog days of summer are coming in with a whimper. Weather forecasters say a cold front headed for Oklahoma and Arkansas will bring unseasonably cool temperatures and a chance of rain through next week....

    July 29, 2014

  • FBI defends search for Oklahoma City bombing video

    SALT LAKE CITY — The FBI thoroughly searched its archives and found no evidence that more videos of the Oklahoma City bombing exist, agency employees told a judge Monday in a trial that has rekindled questions about whether any others were ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Health officials prepare for flu

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Following a flu season in which a record number of Oklahomans died as a result of the virus, state and county health officials say educating the public and general common sense are vital to reducing both the death rate and ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Scam targets migrants

    HOUSTON — Scammers have been preying on the relatives of unaccompanied young migrants being held at two U.S. military bases by conning them into paying nonexistent fees to be reunited with their loved ones, officials said....

    July 27, 2014

  • Trial delayed for man in murder case

    DUNCAN — The first-degree murder trial of a Velma man charged with killing a 16-year-old girl has been delayed until January....

    July 27, 2014

  • Man seeks video of 1995 Oklahoma City bombing

    OKLAHOMA CITY — One man’s quest to explain his brother’s mysterious jail cell death 19 years ago has rekindled long-dormant questions about whether others were involved in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. What some consider a far-flung ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Man found dead outside Tulsa home

    TULSA — Police in Tulsa are investigating the death of a man whose body was found outside a house on the city’s north side....

    July 27, 2014

  • McCain: Arizona execution ‘torture’

    TUCSON, Ariz. — U.S. Sen. John McCain says the execution of an Arizona inmate that lasted two hours was torture....

    July 26, 2014