Medicaid expansion in Oklahoma provides health coverage to thousands of people

Over 113,000 Oklahomans to receive health coverage from next month thanks to the expansion of Medicaid.

Of those, 17,591 are people who had never applied before, according to the Oklahoma Health Care Authority.

The rest – 95,829 – are people whose recent claims have been reprocessed or those transferred to SoonerCare from more limited benefit programs.

Health Care Authority spokesperson Melissa Richey said the agency was monitoring where state applicants are coming from, as well as their ages and other demographics, to determine where to focus efforts. outreach to reach more eligible Oklahomans.

“We will also need to target more people who do not have access to a computer or cell phone where they can apply,” said Richey.

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One group, Indivisible Stillwater – which, along with other chapters of the organization, was part of grassroots efforts to garner support for the expansion of Medicaid in Oklahoma – is working to bolster the state’s efforts to publicize who is now eligible, said the group’s founder and co-leader Cindy Alexander.

“Some of the newly eligible people, maybe they don’t participate in social media, maybe they don’t have good internet access where they live. But they go to the grocery store, and they can go to church, and they can see a flyer that someone posted, ”Alexander said. “We’re just trying to complement the state’s efforts to make sure anyone who might be eligible checks out if they’re eligible.”

More than 113,000 Oklahoma residents will have health coverage starting next month thanks to the expansion of Medicaid.

SoonerCare Enrollment Demographics

So far, more than 73,000 – nearly 65% ​​- of those newly approved for SoonerCare through the expansion are women. This was to be expected, said Richey, as many of the early entrants are people who transferred to the program from other eligibility groups, such as parents and custodial parents, and women represent a larger part of these groups.

“As more and more members apply themselves, we expect this gap to narrow,” she said.

The largest number of registrants is in the 25-34 age bracket, with over 34,000 people approved for coverage. The age group with the smallest enrollment is 55 to 64, with less than 9,000. This group will likely be targeted in future Health Care Authority outreach, Richey said.

About 59% live in urban areas, compared to about 41% of new registrants who live in rural areas.

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Tips for Applying for Medicaid

Steve Goldman, who helps people sign up for Medicaid through his work as a health navigator with Oklahoma Legal Aid Services, said the state’s enrollment numbers expand until now show “that the people of Oklahoma take care of their health by getting coverage when they couldn’t get it.” before.”

He gave candidates some advice: First, it’s not a job interview. You can apply multiple times or update your application, and the approval process is instantaneous whether you’re on the phone or online.

Those who qualify will want to have coverage before accumulating medical bills.

“Pre-existing conditions are covered. But pre-existing bills are not, ”he said, adding that coverage usually begins the day someone applies. “So you need to have coverage before your care starts increasing your bills. “

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Who is Eligible and How to Apply for Medicaid in Oklahoma

About 200,000 Oklahoma residents are expected to apply for coverage through the Medicaid expansion in its first year. Under the expanded eligibility guidelines, adults aged 19 to 64 are eligible for benefits if their income is 138% or below the federal poverty line.

For an individual, this represents an income of about $ 17,796 per year, or $ 36,588 for a family of four.

Applications can be submitted online, by phone or by mail. To apply online, visit MySoonerCare.org. To apply by phone, call the SoonerCare helpline at 800-987-7767.

To send an application by mail, printable applications are available in English and Spanish on the Oklahoma Health Care Authority website.

For those who apply online or over the phone, you will immediately get a response as to whether you are approved for coverage. By mail, it will take about two to three weeks.

The eligibility conditions are available on the Health authority website.

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