About 30,000 people are enrolled in Insure Oklahoma, which matches employer and employee contributions with about $50 million in state tobacco tax dollars and $70 million in federal funds.
More than half of Insure Oklahoma participants would be covered by a health care exchange under the Affordable Care Act. Gov. Mary Fallin has said she intends to develop a program to cover the rest, as well as about 200,000 uninsured Oklahomans who do not currently qualify for Medicaid.
Nico Gomez, the authority's chief executive officer, said he believes the state can renegotiate the extension of Insure Oklahoma through 2014 by allowing for enrollment beyond the 35,000-person cap currently in place, opening up the program to individuals beyond those working at participating small businesses, and reducing co-payments to within federal guidelines.
To expand it would require legislative support and untold amounts of dollars. Funding was not discussed in Deily's presentation, but Fallin last year rejected about $3.6 billion in expanded Medicaid dollars over the course of seven years.
Like a plan recently adopted in Arkansas, expanding Insure Oklahoma would require additional federal funding, but instead of a federal entitlement program, it would be to support a locally built program, he said.
“The thing I take away from it is we have a state innovative program called Insure Oklahoma that we've had since 2004 and we'd like to figure out a way to keep that operation because it's doing exactly what the Affordable Care Act is attempting to do but in a more responsible way,” Gomez said. “My takeaway from the meeting is we have the infrastructure here … now we need flexibility, and that's something we'll have to work toward.”
Deily said a finalized report, including a cost analysis, is expected in June.