Raising Awareness for Children’s Insurance
March 20, 2023
“For the Children” Weekly Column by Joe Dorman, OICA CEO
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Joe Dorman, CEO – Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy
Telephone: (405) 833-1117
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) is pleased to be working this year on a project with Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma that will raise awareness about access to children’s health insurance in Oklahoma.
Our collaborative effort will encourage families who qualify to sign their children up for SoonerCare, the state’s Medicaid program established to provide health insurance to children. The grant provides resources to promote this initiative in 20 rural counties across our state. Those counties include Alfalfa, Blaine, Bryan, Carter, Garfield, Garvin, Grant, Haskell, Hughes, Johnston, Latimer, LeFlore, McIntosh, Muskogee, Okmulgee, Pittsburg, Pontotoc, Seminole, Sequoyah, and Wagoner.
While the grant is limited to those counties listed, we would encourage those in the other 57 counties to also use the resources listed below to help children get insurance coverage.
Oklahoma ranks as one of the worst states in the nation for adults maintaining insurance coverage for children, ranking 44th out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. In our state, 7.4% of children do not have health insurance.
There are problems when children are uninsured: they are more likely to have unmet health needs and lack a usual source of care, diminishing their chances to grow into healthy and productive adults.
A surprising number of households qualify in Oklahoma for SoonerCare. Recently, many Oklahomans who were receiving services did receive a purple letter from the state in the mail conveying they were going to lose SoonerCare.
While this might confuse people that they no longer qualify, many who did receive this letter will still be able to receive this benefit due to changes related to income as it was based on income from previous years.
If you are interested in learning more about this effort, or if you think you might qualify, please go to myOKplan.org or call (1 (833) 465-7526 to visit with a navigator who will assist you with verifying information and helping with filling out the necessary documents.
Current income thresholds for a household of two equate to a weekly income of $489 or monthly of $2,106 or less would qualify your child for support. To see other levels, go to https://myokplan.org/soonercare/ to review.
There are also some important tips to know. When pregnant women fill out the form, a question is asked for how many babies are expected from the pregnancy. This is important as unborn children are considered in this household count and will increase eligibility based upon household income thresholds.
Almost all Medicaid cases are submitted through the Oklahoma Health Care Authority. Aged, blind and disabled persons are the exception, and they apply through Oklahoma Human Services. Therefore, to insure most children, you will want to go through the process with https://myokplan.org or use the phone number above.
Another important note is that applications are determined by gross income, not net. Exceptions are those who are self-employed, and work deductions are allowed. This can include rideshare companies, contractors and other areas of work.
I hope this helps some of you provide insurance for young Oklahomans. I would suggest recommending this program to families with children who you know as they might not be aware of this benefit. Together, we can help these young people get insurance and lead them to healthier lives.