SB 478 would allow insurers to sell health care plans in Oklahoma that don’t include the state’s required health benefits, such as mammograms, diabetes treatment, post-partum maternity care, cancer treatments or autism coverage for children. Although this coverage would likely be less expensive to purchase, it would also be useless for individuals who become sick or develop chronic medical conditions. The skimpy coverage wouldn’t be considered health insurance under federal law, so enrollees would still have to pay a penalty for failing to carry health coverage. 

SB 478 also violates the central premise of health insurance risk pools, where risk is spread across a broad, diverse population. Allowing younger, healthier enrollees to purchase skimpier coverage would drive costs up for families in need of more comprehensive coverage – which could in turn force them out of the market. 

Where things stand (as of 04/10/17)

SB 478 will be heard by the House Insurace committee when it meets on Tuesday, April 11, at 3pm. 

What you can do

Please contact members of the House Insurance Committee and ask them to vote no on SB 478.

Talking points

SB 478 would allow insurers to sell useless coverage.

  • With the state’s required health benefits no longer required, insurers would be free to sell skimpier plans that might be less expensive for consumers to purchase, but would be useless for people who become sick or develop a chronic medical condition. No one stays healthy forever.
  • SB 478 would effectively undo the progress lawmakers made last year by passing a bill requiring Oklahoma insurers to cover treatment for children with autism.
  • SB 478 would allow insurers to drop coverage and deny claims for victims of domestic violence.

The health insurance products created by SB 478 wouldn’t even count as health coverage under federal law.

  • Under federal law, health coverage has to meet certain qualifications, including covering essential health benefits, to count as coverage. Coverage that meets this qualifications can be purchased on Healthcare.gov, and enrollees have access to significant premium tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies to make that coverage affordable.
  • Enrollees in the skimpier coverage created by SB 478 wouldn’t have access to that assistance, and could still have to pay a penalty for failing to carry health insurance. 

SB 478 would make comprehensive health coverage more expensive for the families who need it.

  • The individuals who would choose to enroll in the health coverage SB 478 would allow insurers to sell would generally be younger and healthier. 
  • With enrollment in the state’s more comprehensive, better plans increasingly limited to enrollees needing more expensive care, premiums for those plans would rise accordingly – and enrollees who need that coverage could find themselves priced out. 

See our Advocacy Toolkit page for more information and resources.

You can look up your Senator and Representative here, call the House switchboard at 405-521-2711, and call the Senate switchboard at 405-524-0126.