Okla. Gov. Signs Bill to Expand Health Coverage for Small Business

June 6, 2007

Okla. Gov. Brad Henry has signed a bill expanding a small business health insurance program.

On June 4, Henry signed House Bill 1225, which targets working Oklahomans by expanding Insure Oklahoma, a program that helps small businesses provide health insurance for their employees.

HB 1225 would expand eligibility in the program from businesses with 50 employees to those with 250 or fewer workers. Under the program, the state pays 60 percent of the insurance costs, the employer pays 25 percent and the employee pays the remaining 15 percent.

The bill also would expand eligibility in the program to workers who earn 185 percent of the federal poverty level to a 250-percent threshold, a change Henry should greatly increase the number of participants in the program.

“Insure Oklahoma is a creative way to help small businesses offer health care coverage for their employees, but limited eligibility has proved a hindrance for many in the business community to participate,” Henry said.

The governor also signed the “All Kids Act,” Senate Bill 424, which would increase Medicaid eligibility for children from 185 percent of the federal poverty level to 300 percent, a change expected to provide coverage for as many as 42,000 additional children, according to projections from the governor’s office.

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