Lawmakers Say Oklahoma Insurance Options Could Increase Under Proposal

April 9, 2012

Oklahomans could have the opportunity to purchase insurance from companies across the nation under legislation approved by a state House of Representatives committee.

Senate Bill 1059, by state Sen. Bill Brown and state Rep. Lewis Moore, would create the “Health Care Choice Act.” The measure would allow the state of Oklahoma to enter compacts with other states that allow the sale of insurance products across state lines.

“This legislation would increase competition for Oklahomans’ insurance business and potentially drive down prices while providing a greater array of products,” said Moore, R-Edmond. “At the same time, this bill still gives the state regulatory oversight to ensure consumer protections are maintained.”

Under the legislation, the state insurance commissioner would be authorized to negotiate compacts with other states that allow insurers domiciled those states to sell accident and health coverage in Oklahoma.

Each compact would be subject to disapproval by a majority vote of both chambers of the Oklahoma Legislature, or the governor could disapprove a compact through an executive order.

Out-of-state insurers covered by the compacts would not be required to offer or provide state-mandated health benefits required by Oklahoma law, potentially allowing less expensive basic policies to be sold to Oklahomans.

“Competition benefits the consumer,” Moore said. “By passing this legislation, we can increase competition in the insurance marketplace and help Oklahoma families obtain affordable coverage.”

SB 1059 previously passed the state Senate on a 30-10 vote. It passed out of the House Insurance Committee on a 7-2 vote.

Source: Oklahoma House of Representatives