Oklahoma Lawmakers Discuss Health Coverage For Newborns

Thursday, January 12th 2012, 5:39 pm
By: News 9

Oklahoma lawmakers gathered Thursday to talk about newborn health care coverage.

Democrats voiced concerns because some state insurers stopped selling individual policies for children who aren't covered by Medicaid or their family's plans.

Governor Fallin signed an emergency rule last month that restored "child-only" plans for children between the ages of 1 and nineteen.

Statement from the Governor's office:

An unfortunate side affect of President Obama's health care law was to drive "child-only" private health insurance policies out of the market in over a dozen states, including Oklahoma. Child-only policies are required by only a small segment of the insurance marketplace who are unable to insure their children through family policies, SoonerCare, the state and federal high risk pool, and a variety of other options. Nevertheless, Governor Fallin believes these families need and deserve access to health insurance for their children, and was frustrated that President Obama's health care law – which she vigorously opposed and continues to oppose – was reducing their access to care.

In order to correct the problem created by the federal health care law, Governor Fallin approved a rule submitted by Insurance Commissioner John Doak that amended regulations on health insurance providers, allowing them to offer child-only policies for 1-19 year olds (omitting 0-1 year olds). The result of that rule-change has been the immediate reinstatement of child-only health insurance policies by both Blue Cross Blue Shield and CommunityCare. In other words, the governor, working in tandem with both the insurance commissioner and insurance providers, has solved the problem for the vast majority of children and families negatively affected by the child-only mandates in the federal health care law.

Moving forward, the governor remains concerned that – for the small number of families seeking child-only health insurance policies for 0-1 year olds—few options exist. She is actively working to pursue a remedy for that problem, and is encouraged that members of the legislature are doing so as well. She is hopeful that any solutions proposed by the legislature will provide child-only coverage for 0-1 year olds without onerous mandates that will raise the cost of health insurance for all Oklahoma consumers. - Alex Weintz, Communications Director, Office of Governor Mary Fallin