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Oklahoma is one of the states that strongly opposed the Affordable Care Act. In fact, it went as far as bringing a case to the federal court system. Despite all these, the ACA still benefitted the state, considerably reducing its uninsured rate. There are, however, still plenty of things that its government can do to improve its health care sector. In this guide, you’ll learn more about the changes in its uninsured rating, its standing in health rankings, and the health insurance premiums you can expect this year. 

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Health ratings and where the state stands

A great area of improvement for the state is its health ratings. Ranking almost at the bottom of the 2015 Commonwealth Fund’s Scorecard on State Health System Performance at 50th (of 51), it performed poorly on all categories of the assessment. It received the lowest possible score of quintile 4 in the indicators Access, Prevention & Treatment, Avoidable Hospital Use & Costs, Healthy Lives, and Equity.

Here are some of the state’s performances for the “Healthy Lives” category:

  • Mortality amenable to healthcare: 118 out of 100,000 people

  • Breast cancer fatalities: 22.9 out of 100,000 women

  • Colorectal cancer fatalities: 17.5 out of 100,000 people

  • Percentage of adult smokers: 21%

  • Adult obesity: 34%

  • Obesity in children aged 10-17: 34%

Below are a few of the notable statistical comparisons (between OK and the country, in general) taken from the study:

  • 21% of adults (19 to 64 years old) don’t have insurance, compared with the national average of 15%

  • 9% of children (infants to 18 years old) are uninsured, as opposed to the countrywide average of 6%

  • 15% of the adult population chose not to obtain insurance due to the high costs associated with it

  • 19% of adults had expensive out-of-pocket medical bills

Taking a look at uninsured rating

One of the biggest factors that influence rates and premiums is how high or low the number of people without insurance in a given location is. In general, the lower the percentage of uninsured population, the better the premiums. This is a primary reason behind the Native America State seeing an average rate increase of 76% this 2017.

Note though, that between 2010 and 2015, it managed to bring down the count of residents who went without insurance, a U.S. Department of Health & Human Services report revealed. From 18.9%, it dropped to 13.9%, representing a 5.0% decrease. At the end of the study, 192,000 more people became insured, from the then estimated population of 3,911,338 (2015, latest data1).

If this goes down even more in the following years, Oklahomans may have access to better premiums.

Projections for 2017 premiums

Because of the statewide rate hike three times higher than the national average, you should prepare yourself to pay more towards your coverage this year than last year. This will still depend on personal factors though, but it pays to have some idea on the calculations made by experts.

Take a look at these projections for certain groups in the state, taken from a United States Department of Health & Human Services report:

  • Average lowest-cost, monthly premium within metal level: $586

  • Average net premium for lowest cost plan within metal tier: $113

  • Second-lowest silver before advance premium tax credit (for a 27-year old with a $25,000 household income): $424

  • Second-lowest silver after advance premium tax credit (for a 27-year old with a $25,000 household income): $142

  • Second-lowest silver before advance premium tax credit (for a family of four with a $60,000 household income): $1,536

  • Second-lowest silver after advance premium tax credit (for a 27-year old with a $25,000 household income): $405

Improving access to insurance for healthier lives

If Oklahoma was to have better access to insurance, more of its citizens would no doubt have healthier, better quality lives. This’ll also help stabilize rates, and hopefully, make coverage more affordable for the majority of its population.

References:

https://www.healthinsurance.org/oklahoma/

http://datacenter.commonwealthfund.org/scorecard/state/38/oklahoma/

https://aspe.hhs.gov/compilation-state-data-affordable-care-act

https://aspe.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/212721/2017MarketplaceLandscapeBrief.pdf

1Latest data: The U.S. census is conducted every 10 years as per requirement of the United States Constitution. The 23rd edition and the latest data is the 2010 United States Census. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_United_States_Census
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