Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Hoskin: Affordable Healthcare for Oklahomans and Small Businesses Receives Approval

Representative Chuck Hoskin, D- Vinita, released a statement today regarding the passage HB 1225, which expands the ‘Insure Oklahoma’ program.

“The passage of this bill is truly a victory for hard working Oklahomans and small businesses across the State,” said Representative Hoskin. “Senator Sean Burrage, D- Claremore, and I have been working on this issue extensively since the beginning of Session. Not only is the Insure Oklahoma Program essential to relieving the high cost of healthcare insurance premiums from Oklahoma’s families and small businesses, it also provides health insurance to a group of people who can’t afford health insurance.”

Currently, an estimated 600,000 Oklahomans do not have health insurance coverage.

The Insure Oklahoma, or O-EPIC, Program helps small businesses with 50 or fewer employees pay for health insurance coverage for workers. Participating employers and employees pay a portion of their health insurance premiums with the state picking up the rest of the tab. The federal/state government pays 60 percent of the cost, employers pay 25 percent and employees pay 15 percent.

House Bill 1225 expands the program to cover employees earning up to 250 percent of the federal poverty level. Currently, the premium assistance program limits eligibility to employees earning no more than 185 percent of the federal poverty level. The bill also expands the Program to include businesses with 250 or fewer employees eligible for assistance.

“I am committed to providing access to affordable healthcare to all Oklahomans,” said Hoskin. “This is a step in the right direction and allows small business to free up revenue to invest in themselves and Oklahoma’s economy. This bill will go a long ways towards ensuring that Oklahomans who work hard and play by the rules don’t have to worry about losing everything because of an illness or injury.”

No comments: