Oklahoma in danger of having no insurers participate in federal marketplace in 2018, state official says

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma is in danger of having no insurers participate in the federal marketplace in 2018, a state official announced Friday.

Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak is warning state and federal lawmakers 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.”

Officials with the Oklahoma Insurance Department say 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.”

The Oklahoma Insurance Department held town halls across the state to get Oklahomans’ input on healthcare reform.

Officials with the Oklahoma Insurance Department say much of the feedback centered around having only one insurance choice on the federal marketplace in Oklahoma.