OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Even though the privatization of SoonerCare failed in the 1990s, the state is going back to private insurers to help contract out with Oklahoma service providers.
The Oklahoma Health Care Authority announced this week that Humana, Aetna, and Oklahoma Complete Health, a subsidiary of Centene Corporation, will be awarded a total of $3.75 billion to help run the expansion of SoonerCare.
“This is not the Utopian dream, but that never happens,” said Senator Greg McCortney, R-Ada.
He authored the bill that reverted Oklahoma back to a private structure.
Last year, he admitted that out-of-state private companies were to blame for the previous failure.
McCortney’s focus was to prioritize Oklahomans.
It’s written in Senate Bill 1337 that the, “majority of entity’s governing body needs to be from Oklahoma.”
“We want to make sure that it’s doctors, that it’s hospitals, that it’s health care providers that live in Oklahoma that care for Oklahomans that are making the decisions for the people,” said McCortney, on Friday.
On Thursday, Kevin Corbett, CEO of Oklahoma Health Care Authority claimed that’s how the system will work.
“Each of these entities has a governing board that is majority controlled by providers, therefore not by the entity itself,” said Corbett.
This means the three private companies will work directly with Oklahoma doctors to create plans for Oklahomans.
It also means Oklahomans will have oversight of how money is being spent.
Under the current system, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority takes 4% for administrative costs.
With a private system, companies can charge up to 15%.
It’s unclear how the new contracts are structured, but McCortney expects better health care outcomes.
“In multi-billion dollar contracts there are a lot of details, but when the details come out I think you’re going to see health care providers in the state of Oklahoma having a majority share of the board of directors of every one of these companies,” said the senator.
Corbett explained that plans will roll out to Oklahomans in April 2024 and 800,000 Oklahomans will be eligible at that time.