Oklahoma health insurance marketplace: history and
news of the state’s exchange

BCBS of Oklahoma and Bright Health offering plans for 2018; cost of CSR added to silver premiums,making other
metal levels particularly affordable

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Louise Norris
Individual health insurance and health reform authority; broker
March 22, 2018

More Oklahoma coverage

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    Insurance Guide
    • A guide to health insurance in
      your state.
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    • Your state’s Medicaid expansion,
      eligibilty, contacts
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    • Insurance for those over 64

Highlights and updates

  • 2018 enrollment down 4.6% from 2017
  • One insurer in 2017, but Bright Health joined in 2018
  • Average rate increase 15.6%, including added premiums to cover CSR cost
  • Cost of CSR added to silver exchange, other metal levels particularly cheap for some
  • 2018 rates and new insurer indicate death spiral no longer a danger

Oklahoma exchange overview

For 2018, there were 140,184 Oklahoma residents who bought plans through the open exchange. It was 4% lower than the previous year. The state is one of the ones that refused to expand Medicaid. They also have very strict rules on short term health insurance plans—they cannot last more than six months and cannot be renewed. For 2019, Medica has joined the exchange offering coverage. Blue Cross Blue Shield was previously the only insurer offering plans in the exchange and is reducing their premiums by 2%.


Oklahoma and Medicaid

For 2018, there were 783,143 residents enrolled in Medicaid. Oklahoma and Wyoming are the only two states where enrollment had declined. On average, Medicaid has increased by 27% nationally. Only about an eighth of the state’s Medicaid is non-elderly adults and the state is pursuing a waiver for a Medicaid work requirement. It’s estimated that 6,000 low income residents would be affected by the work requirement and would be required to work 20 hours a week in order to keep their Medicaid benefits.

Risks in Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Health Insurance High Risk Pool was created in 1995 to provide an alternative for people who unable to get medical coverage due to their medical history. However, the Affordable Care Acts had eliminated the need for high risk pools and the need for the Oklahoma Health Insurance High Risk Pool was eradicated by the end of 2014.

Louise Norris is an individual health insurance broker who has been writing about health insurance and health reform since 2006. She has written dozens of opinions and educational pieces about the Affordable Care Act for healthinsurance.org. Her state health exchange updates are regularly cited by media who cover health reform and by other health insurance experts.