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OHCA: 150k Oklahomans to lose Medicaid coverage after pandemic

In 2015, Medicaid spending topped $552 billion nationwide. People who receive both Medicaid and Medicare and people with disabilities account for more than half of Medicaid spending.
Katarzyna Bialasiewicz/Getty Images/iStockphoto
Voter approved Medicaid expansion went into effect in Oklahoma Jul. 1

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority says 150,000 people will lose SoonerCare over the next approximately year and a half.

CEO Kevin Corbett told state lawmakers during an appropriations subcommittee hearing Wednesday that OHCA received more than a billion federal dollars during the pandemic but that money came with requirements.

“Anybody at the time we entered the program who was a member of SoonerCare, they could not be disenrolled except for three things: death, election to withdraw, or move out of state,” said Corbett.

Corbett said OHCA is forecasting the public health emergency caused by the pandemic will be over in June. When that happens, his agency will start removing coverage for those who no longer meet the unchanged eligibility criteria but who are still enrolled because of the moratorium.

Sen. Paul Rosino (R-District 45) asked Corbett how OHCA will determine who gets removed and when.

“I’m assuming you guys are paying attention to who is currently using services and they would be the last ones to go. People who are heavily using services because they have cancer or whatever, they’re the last ones to go. And the people who are not using services, they would be the first ones you would disenroll. Am I assuming that right?”

“You are, Senator,” said Corbett. “We’ll be happy to go through our project plan with you to make sure we’re thinking about all the things we need to be thinking about.”

Corbett said the disenrollment period will last between six and 12 months.

Before joining Public Radio Tulsa, Elizabeth Caldwell was a freelance reporter and a teacher. She holds a master's from Hollins University. Her audio work has appeared at KCRW, CBC's The World This Weekend, and The Missouri Review. She is a south Florida native.