Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry has approved the expansion of Insure Oklahoma, a state program that helps small businesses purchase health insurance for their workers.
Emergency rules signed by Gov. Henry will expand the pool of eligible businesses, raising the eligibility limits from businesses with up to 50 employees to those with up to 99 employees and ultimately, 250 employees. The rules also allow low-income, full-time college students to participate in the program.
“It took a long time for the federal government to approve the expansion, but now that it has, we can begin signing up more Oklahomans for health insurance,” said Gov. Henry.
That expansion was originally approved by the 2007 Legislature at Gov. Henry’s urging, but it did not receive the necessary, final federal approval until this month. The emergency rules were the last act needed to trigger implementation.
Under the Insure Oklahoma program, participating employers and employees pay a portion of their health insurance premiums with the state picking up the rest of the tab. The state pays 60 percent of the cost, employers pay 25 percent and employees pay 15 percent.
For every dollar the state invests in the program, it receives approximately two dollars in matching federal money.
Source: Oklahoma Governor’s Office