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Oklahoma Considers Allowing Short-Term Health Insurance

December 7, 2018

Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak says he wants the state government to allow residents to buy short-term health insurance plans.

Oklahoma issued guidance in September restricting short-term health insurance plans to six months. The Trump administration issued a rule change in August 2018 extending the period short-term plans can be carried before renewal from three months to 12 and allowing renewal for up to 36 months.

In a press statement in September, Doak said the “final rules are intended to help those left behind by Obamacare. ... I’m confident we can work with state lawmakers to revamp the current law and make it much less restrictive.”

Gavin Smith, a former deputy director of communications at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, says the rule change is part of a larger plan to increase affordable health insurance options nationwide.

“Short-term, limited-duration plans are one step the president and his administration have taken towards expanding access to affordable health care,” Smith said. “These plans are relatively affordable and are of particular interest to those who have been forgot- ten by Obamacare’s skyrocketing premiums and failing marketplace. While this isn’t a solution for everyone, it’s certainly a step forward in expanding access to quality, affordable health care for all Americans.”

‘In the Right Direction’

Jonathan Small, president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, says the state should concentrate on eliminating regulations that make health insurance more expensive than it should be.

“Policymakers in Oklahoma should not focus on padding and protecting the failed policies of Obamacare,” Small said. “Instead, their first priority should be to foster an environment that offers more affordable health care plans to Oklahoma consumers. Eliminating state restrictions on short-term, limited-duration insurance plans is a step in the right direction for Oklahoma.”

Short-term insurance plans could relieve people of burdens imposed by Obamacare, Small says.

“Short-term insurance plans could help offer flexible and affordable coverage to thousands of Oklahomans who are ineligible for subsidies on the ACA marketplace,” Small said. “Those who can’t afford the expensive, government-controlled plans of Obamacare, those between jobs, and retirees who are not yet eligible for Medicare will benefit moving forward.”

Benjamin Moulton (bmoulton2016@ gmail.com) writes from Salem, Virginia.

INTERNET INFO:

“Tom Coburn: Oklahoma Can Have Affordable Insurance,” NewsOK, September 22, 2018: https://newsok. com/article/5609186/tom-coburn-oklahoma-can-have-affordable-insurance

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