An Estimated 35,000 Oklahoma Children Qualify for SoonerCare, But Not Enrolled

Monday, 22 April 2024 15:47

An Estimated 35,000 Oklahoma Children Qualify for SoonerCare, But Not Enrolled Featured

Written by Joe Dorman, OICA CEO
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OKLAHOMA CITY – As of March 2024, 502,221 Oklahoma children were enrolled in SoonerCare, just over half the estimated number of children living in the state. Additionally, the state estimates that about seven percent, or 70,000 Oklahoma children, are not enrolled in insurance, and more than half of those, or about 35,000, would likely qualify for SoonerCare coverage.

To improve delivery of services, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) on April 1 unveiled a new service program for those on SoonerCare on April 1 called SoonerSelect, 2024. SoonerCare, Oklahoma’s Medicaid program, provides health care for many Oklahomans, including children under the age of 19, pregnant women, and others in special categories.

Under SoonerSelect, most SoonerCare members will receive their health care coverage in a new way – through health and dental plans. A “health or dental plan” is an organization selected by the state which provides health care services through a network (group) of doctors, dentists, pharmacists, mental health professionals and other service providers. Some plans even provide extra services like programs to help you quit smoking or building a health plan.

Under this new model, health and dental plans have a provider network. In most cases, eligible families must receive care from a provider in their plan’s provider network, such as a primary care provider or a primary care dentist. Those who are eligible can choose from three health plans: Aetna Better Health of Oklahoma, Humana Healthy Horizons of Oklahoma, and Oklahoma Complete Health.

Eligible Oklahomans can pick between two dental plans: DentaQuest or LIBERTY Dental. Both provide medically necessary cleanings, preventive and restorative care, and provide medically necessary orthodontic services for Oklahomans under 21.

If you are a federally recognized tribal member or qualify for services through Indian Health Service, you may decide to join a plan or remain on your current SoonerCare plan. There is also a Children’s Specialty Program that serves children involved in the juvenile justice system, which includes children in foster care and children receiving adoption assistance. Oklahoma Complete Health serves these members.

The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) is proud to be working with Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma (LASO) to raise awareness about access to children’s health insurance in Oklahoma, and OICA is excited about these new opportunities.

Our collaborative work encourages families who qualify to sign their children up for SoonerCare. This grant-funded program provides resources for us to promote this initiative directly in 20 rural counties across our state: Alfalfa, Blaine, Bryan, Carter, Garfield, Garvin, Grant, Haskell, Hughes, Johnston, Latimer, LeFlore, McIntosh, Muskogee, Okmulgee, Pittsburg, Pontotoc, Seminole, Sequoyah, and Wagoner.

We have distributed brochures to each public school and day care in those counties, totaling more than 110,000 pamphlets to provide enrollment information to families.

The effort to get the word out is working. Information provided by OHCA shows that 81,788 children were newly enrolled statewide from February 2023 to February 2024. OICA is pleased to be a part of this campaign to see more children receive health coverage.

Parameters to qualify are based on size of household and monthly income/annual income. Further information is at https://oklahoma.gov/ohca/individuals/mysoonercare/apply-for-soonercare-online/eligibility/income-guidelines.html

If you are interested in learning more, 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 help with filling out the application.

Please recommend 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.

About OICA: The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy was established in 1983 by a group of citizens seeking to create a strong advocacy network that would provide a voice for the needs of children and youth in Oklahoma, particularly those in the state’s care and those growing up amid poverty, violence, abuse and neglect, disparities, or other situations that put their lives and future at risk. Our mission statement: “Creating awareness, taking action and changing policy to improve the health, safety, and well-being of Oklahoma’s children.”

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