OKLAHOMA CITY, March 24, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak is warning state and federal lawmakers that Oklahoma is in danger of having no insurers participate in the federal marketplace in 2018. The number of insurers on the Oklahoma exchange dwindled to just one after multiple carriers sustained significant losses. In a letter to Gov. Mary Fallin and Oklahoma's federal lawmakers, Doak vowed to protect Oklahomans.
"While I have believed that the federal marketplace's failure was inevitable, it has become a resource used by many Oklahomans," Doak said. "In the absence of legislative action to create a solution that can restore the stability of our health insurance system, I will work with the industry to encourage marketplace stabilization and participation."
Doak has been working on state-based solutions to Oklahoma's health insurance challenges. He has partnered with Sen. Bill Brown (R-Dist. 36) to pass Senate Bill 478 which allows for the sale of health insurance across state lines. The bill passed the Senate Thursday 38-4.
"We want to give consumers more options," said Brown. "With more policies to choose from, they are much more likely to find a plan that meets their needs. This bill fosters competition that, ultimately, will benefit everyone."
"This bill is a win-win," said Doak. "Giving consumers the freedom to buy health insurance across state lines will increase competition, decrease costs and provide better care."
Commissioner Doak has a history of finding innovative solutions to health insurance challenges. In 2012, the Legislature passed his proposed bill to create association health plans. It allows small employers to join together and gain access to broader benefits with competitive rates.
In January, Doak submitted ideas to U.S. leaders on changes to healthcare. They included:
- Permitting sale of insurance across state lines under state regulatory enforcement.
- Adopting policies that expand the use of health savings accounts coupled with more affordable, high-deductible health plans.
- Enacting legislation that protects consumers from unfair balance billing and surprise billing from individual providers like anesthesiologists, radiologists or medical service companies such as air ambulance and imaging providers.
The Oklahoma Insurance Department held town halls across the state to get Oklahomans' input on healthcare reform. Much of the feedback centered around having only one insurance choice on the federal marketplace in Oklahoma.
To read Commissioner Doak's letter to Gov. Fallin, click here.
About the Oklahoma Insurance Department
The Oklahoma Insurance Department, an agency of the State of Oklahoma, is responsible for the education and protection of the insurance-buying public and for oversight of the insurance industry in the state.
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SOURCE Oklahoma Insurance Department