insurance

health insurance cards and dollar bills
Lindsey Whelchel / Oklahoma Watch

Two private health insurance companies participating in the Affordable Care Act market in Oklahoma are expected to leave the program next year, while another big insurer wants in.

The shuffle, which would occur on Jan. 1, illustrates the rapid evolution of the “Obamacare” health insurance marketplace as it approaches its third year of operation. Some insurers are finding it difficult to make a profit on Affordable Care Act policies, while others see an opportunity that could pay off big over time.

Oklahoma Treasurer Ken Miller
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma's treasurer is describing as "shameful" a pair of bills he says will keep his office from connecting Oklahomans with life insurance proceeds that are rightfully theirs.

Treasurer Ken Miller vowed Friday to sue the state if one of the bills — one pending in the Senate — becomes law.

That bill would require insurance companies to check a Social Security death list to see if policy holders have died, but would only apply to policies sold after 2016.

StateFarm / Flickr Creative Commons

After a series of severe storms swept through the state in May of last year, insurance carriers paid out over $1 billion in claims, making it the nation’s most costly disaster of 2013.

Most insurance issues have now been settled, but many homeowners are looking at higher rates than they were paying before the storm.

Number Getting Earthquake Insurance Increasing

Jul 23, 2014
seismograph
Ray Bouknight / Flickr Creative Commons

The recent increase in earthquakes within the state has raised both awareness and the purchase of earthquake insurance, according to Kelly Collins, communications director with the Oklahoma Insurance Department.

According to Collins, in 2011 only 3 percent of most insurance companies’ customers had earthquake insurance.

That number has now tripled with an estimated 15 percent of customers holding such policies.

This conclusion came from a survey done by Collins of the top five homeowners insurance companies in the state who make up 70 percent of the industry.

People are worried about being able to pay for health insurance. So the insurance industry and a group of Democratic senators have proposed offering cheaper, skimpier "copper plans" on the health law's marketplaces that could draw in people who were unhappy with the cost of available plans.

But consumer advocates and others who study the insurance market suggest that there may not be a big demand for these plans and that they could expose people to unacceptably high out-of-pocket costs if they got sick.

Oklahoma Tax Commission

Law enforcement officers in Oklahoma will soon have the option to seize license plates from uninsured drivers and assign temporary insurance.

A new state law went into effect Nov. 1 allowing the seizure, but the Oklahoma Insurance Department says agencies won't implement the changes until January as procedures are established.

State Rep. Mike Shelton (D-Oklahoma City)
Oklahoma House

Following a rash of earthquakes, a state lawmaker says he plans to file a bill to require insurance companies to notify Oklahomans whether their policies cover property damage caused by earthquakes.

Rep. Mike Shelton of Oklahoma City filed a bill last year that would have required insurance companies to notify Oklahomans who are purchasing or renewing an insurance policy whether the policy covers losses caused by earthquakes. Shelton says the measure was opposed by the insurance industry and died in a House committee.

People who lose their jobs and the health insurance tied to them will have new coverage options when the Affordable Care Act's marketplaces open in October.

But consumer advocates are concerned many of these unemployed people may not realize this and lock themselves into pricier coverage than they need.

a stack of dollar bills with a stethoscope and bottle of pills
James Martin / Flickr

Three large insurance companies are planning to offer health policies to individual Oklahomans at rates ranging from less than $100 to more than $1,000 per month through the new insurance marketplace being set up under the Affordable Care Act.

The rates posted by Aetna Life Insurance Co., Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma and Coventry Health & Life Insurance Co. for policies they will offer under the health-care law vary widely based on age, geographic location, tobacco use and plan type.

Oklahoma Capitol Building
ana branca / Flickr Creative Commons

State officials are nearing the completion of the selection of health insurance providers for state workers, the first under a new process established in 2012.

“The Office of Management and Enterprise Services is finalizing the plans and rates proposals,” said John Estus, spokesman for the agency.

“We plan to share that information with various employee groups and the (Employee Benefits and Insurance) board will discuss it at their Aug. 16 meeting and makes it recommendations,” he said.