Friday, September 5, 2008

Open Door Policy - Sept. 2, 2008

I hope everyone had a great Labor Day! I had the chance to see some friends from both high school and college. I also took time to appreciate all the efforts that have been put forth over the years by America's workforce. We have some of the safest workplaces in the world and our employees have better opportunities for health care than many other nations where I have had the chance to visit. We still have a ways to go for much of the country, but things like the Insure Oklahoma program have made a great difference here in Oklahoma.
With information provided directly from their website ( ), this describes the Insure Oklahoma program:
"In April 2004, Senate Bill 1546 authorized the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to develop a program assisting adults, 19 to 64 years of age, who do not exceed 185% of the federal poverty level, with either (1) a portion of their private health plan premiums, or (2) the purchase of a state sponsored health plan operated under the state Medicaid program. After conducting a study of the uninsured in Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) developed viable, realistic, and effective strategies to cover the uninsured through the Oklahoma State Planning Grant (HRSA grant)."
"In November 2004, the Oklahoma Health Care Initiative, otherwise known as State Question 713, created the funding to make a program like this possible. SQ 713, passed by a vote of Oklahomans, increased the sales tax on tobacco products. A portion of these revenues were designated to be used to fund the new health program."
"The joint effort of Governor Henry, the State Legislature, OHCA, and other committed organizations resulted in the Oklahoma Employer/Employee Partnership for Insurance Coverage (Insure Oklahoma/O-EPIC) program. Insure Oklahoma is designed and intended to assist in the purchase of health coverage."
In order to participate in the Insure Oklahoma program for small employers, the employee must be:
Oklahoma resident
U.S. Citizen or qualified alien
age 19-64
within income guidelines
ineligible for Medicaid or Medicare
contributing up to 15 percent of premium costs
enrolled in an Insure Oklahoma qualified health plan offered by their employer
This program has made a difference for many of my employees in House District 65, but employers out there that are not aware of this need to contact their office or mine for more information. The Insure Oklahoma number is 1-888-3-OK-EPIC (1-888-365-3742).
It is an honor to represent your views at the State Capitol. If you wish to contact me and discuss one of these or another issue, I can be reached at my office in Oklahoma City toll-free at 1-800-522-8502, or directly at 1-405-557-7305. My e-mail address is at work. My mailing address is PO Box 559, Rush Springs, OK 73082 and my website is on the Internet. Thank you for taking time to read this column and I look forward to seeing you soon.

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