By Tara Vreeland, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- It's a plight to help those without medical insurance. March 22nd through March 28th was officially declared "Cover the Uninsured Week" for the City of Tulsa. The week is aimed at educational efforts to raise awareness on health care and the uninsured.
Richard Kelley is a father of three. He works at Ausbrooks Used Cars in Okmulgee. Health care is a must have for Kelley's family. But, for a while, it was outrageously expensive.
"I was paying roughly between $475 and $500 a month," said Richard Kelley.
The dealership qualifies as a small business for Insure Oklahoma.. A program Kelley has taken advantage of. He now pays $85 a month for health insurance, $415 cheaper than before.
"Less out of my pocket per month. I can use that money in other ways as far as buying groceries and everything else," said Richard Kelley.
"Can you imagine being a mother or father and seeing a sick child and not having the ability to take them to the doctor?" said Mayor Kathy Taylor.
"The intention of Cover the Uninsured Week is to dispel the myth that the uninsured are poor and jobless," said St. John Medical Center CEO Charles Anderson.
The number of medically uninsured in the United States is about 47 million people. The CEO of St John Medical Center says one in five citizens is medically uninsured. A number that Insure Oklahoma hopes see go down.
"It is simply unsustainable a nation such as ours to keep that amount of the population away from free access to health care coverage," said St. John Medical Center CEO Charles Anderson.
A range of people qualify for Insure Oklahoma from adults who work in an Oklahoma business with 99 or fewer employees to self employed individuals and full time college students.
As for Kelley, there were only two options before he qualified: pay the expense or go without.
"Because the cost was just so stinking high anymore. You know what I mean. And, we found this little program and it saves all of us a bunch of money," said Richard Kelley.
There are opportunites to enroll in Insure Oklahoma all this week.