Opponents Of New OK Bill Say It Could Impact Healthcare Coverage

Monday, March 20th 2017, 10:33 pm
By: News On 6

A new bill that just passed the house and senate insurance committees has some Oklahomans worried about their health care coverage.

Families flooded the State Capitol this time last year to advocate for Autism insurance reform in Oklahoma. They won their fight, but now they say they've been handed another.

2/17/2016 Related Story: Families Lobby At Capitol To Include Autism In Health Coverage

Advocate Autumn Ryan said, "You know, we can't choose which conditions we get, so I don't know how we can choose which conditions we want to pay for."

Senate Bill 478 is a bill that would allow insurance companies from out of state to sell policies to people in Oklahoma, including businesses.

"If employers are given a choice to select a company from Oklahoma that might be more expensive but covers all of our mandates, they're probably going to go with one from a different state that has less state-mandated options,' Ryan said.

Mandated coverage in Oklahoma ranges from diabetic self-care to cancer screenings, well-woman exams, immunizations, and post-operative care for breast cancer patients.

"People went to the Capitol and got a bill drawn up so that they had to cover them because they weren't paying for these things," Ryan said. “Things that are necessary - people were getting denied through their insurance until, finally, someone said, ‘Okay, you have to cover this if you want to do business in the state of Oklahoma.’"

The author of the bill, Broken Arrow Senator Bill Brown, said he's not trying to prevent coverage, he's trying to expand it.

"The mandates they have are included here that could be mandates we don't have," he said. "What we're trying to do is bring down costs, and by more competition, that's all this bill does."

Opponents say while it sounds good in theory, they're afraid Oklahoma companies will choose a cheaper option.