Oklahoma now has fewer than 100 days until voter-approved Medicaid expansion takes effect, and a think tank has recommendations for implementing it.
Oklahoma Policy Institute Health Policy Fellow Emma Morris said the main recommendation is to start enrollment now. The Oklahoma Health Care Authority currently plans to wait until July 1.
"In Idaho, when they expanded Medicaid, two in three expansion enrollees were signed up for coverage before that coverage even took effect," Morris said. "Opening enrollment before coverage begins will give everyone involved time to slow down, to make good decisions and minimize confusion. It will streamline access to care for people who really, really need it."
If enrollment can't start now, Oklahoma Policy Institute recommends OHCA at least process applications submitted between April 1 and July 1 again under new eligibility guidelines. Individuals earning up to $16,970 or families of four earning up to $34,846 a year will be eligible for coverage under Medicaid expansion.
Morris said OHCA should also reach out to as many potentially eligible individuals as possible.
"We think it’s very important that the OHCA right now be focusing on making sure that expansion is as successful as possible, and that means ensuring that people know what’s available and how they can get access to that care," Morris said.
Oklahomans can enroll in Medicaid at mysoonercare.org or their local Department of Human Services office. If they need help, Oklahoma has a Medicaid navigator, Steven Goldman, who can be reached at StevenBGoldman@gmail.com or 405-313-1780.
Morris said state lawmakers also need to find a way to fund Medicaid expansion without taking away from other core services. The state’s share is around $160 million dollars.