Sen. Sean Burrage, D-Claremore, announced Thursday that he cannot accept the emergency rules handed down from Commissioner Doak and Governor Fallin as Oklahoma’s best effort to fix the problems surrounding the child-only insurance market. A pair of bills being filed offer a path forward without leaving newborns out in the cold. Burrage said that as many as 17 other states have faced a similar problem.
“The fact is that some of those other states who’ve seen insurance companies end the sale of these policies have found solutions that don’t exclude newborn babies,” Burrage said. “Oklahoma is capable of coming up with a better solution than what the Insurance Commissioner has given us.”
The first measure would be an SJR that would overturn a State Insurance Commission emergency rule that was essentially a ploy to lure insurance companies back into the market by letting them off the hook of covering newborns. “They want all the rewards and profits that come with the insurance business, but none of the risk,” Burrage said. “Unfortunately, the commissioner gave them just that.”
“Allowing newborn babies to go without health insurance is not representative of our values. The insurance commissioner’s job is to protect consumers, not industry profits,” Burrage said. “The current rule will leave some of Oklahoma’s most vulnerable children without access to medical care.”
The second measure, by Senator Tom Adelson, a former Secretary of Health, is a bill modeled on a Colorado law passed in response to the same problem. The bill simply states that if an insurance company wants to participate in the individual accident and health insurance market, they must offer at least one type of child-only plan.
“Covering babies will not prevent these companies from being highly profitable, but denying coverage could mean financial destruction for some Oklahoma families.”
For families who make too much to qualify for Sooner Care but too little to afford family policies, child-only policies are a way to guarantee their infants have access to the regular preventative care and check-ups babies need to stay healthy.
“I’m urging my fellow members of the Legislature and Governor Fallin to help overturn this rule and find a better solution to protect Oklahoma’s children.”
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