There will only be one insurance company offering policies on the Healthcare Exchange and premiums are expected to go up by at least 50%.
There are concerns that many who already have policies under the Affordable Care Act, will drop their coverage because of the costs.
Medical facilities like Morton Comprehensive Health Care and the Community Health Connection have worked hard to get their uninsured patients signed up with policies.
So they don’t want people to give up their coverage.
Owen Cowdery does Marketing, Public Relations and Outreach for the Health Connection.
He said people may need to find more work or make drastic cuts to keep their policies.
“If you don’t have health insurance, you can hope that you don’t get sick, or your kids don’t get sick. But that’s a pretty big gamble to take,” said Cowdery.
Everyone agrees that a state with chronic health problems doesn’t need things to get worse because the taxpayers will foot the bill.
Dr. Laura Dempsey, of Morton, says we all save when people are insured.
“It’s seven to ten times higher to go into an emergency room and wait,” said Dempsey. “If they are covered and they come into us, we can help them and we can manage that care and keep them working.”
Dempsey added that no one is sure how people will respond to higher premiums.
But at places like Morton and the Community Health Connection they help those without resources.
So more uninsured people would challenge their budgets.
Jim McCarthy is the CEO of the Community Health Connection and he said they’re concerned.
“We already have the highest uninsured percentage of any community health care center in Oklahoma. This is only going to make that worse.”
McCarthy said they hope the state legislature will rebalance Medicaid because right now some of the poorest Oklahomans are missing out.
Those who make less than $12,000 a year, aren’t getting any subsidies to help with their insurance premiums.
McCarthy said it’s time to do the right thing morally and financially.