The White House released a preliminary state breakdown of health care premiums for uninsured Americans Wednesday, and Oklahoma seems to be sitting pretty.
The state-by-state report, conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services, asserts that Oklahomans will have some of the cheapest health insurance options in the U.S. when open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act begins Tuesday.
View the full report (http://1.usa.gov/19AnXRu)
Oklahoma residents will have 53 plans to choose from grouped into four tiers: bronze, silver, gold and platinum. Each level consists of lower premiums in the state than the national average, and for Oklahomans that opt into the lowest level bronze coverage, they'll pay an average of $174 per month before tax credits, the second lowest total in the U.S.
A subsidy calculator, built by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, allows for a more individualized estimate.
Mobile users can use the calculator here -- http://bit.ly/1eIf667
Despite what looks to be a favorable first step into the nation's new health care system, many of Oklahoma's political leaders have been extremely vocal about the failings of "Obamacare." Last year, Okla. Gov. Mary Fallin announced -- not unbegrudgingly -- the state would not pursue the creation of its own state-based healthcare exchange and rejected a $54 million federal grant to set up the program.
"Despite my ongoing opposition to the federal health care law, the state of Oklahoma is legally obligated to either build an exchange that is PPACA-compliant and approved by the Obama Administration, or to default to an exchange run by the federal government," Fallin said in November. "This choice has been forced on the people by the Obama administration in spite of the fact that voters have overwhelmingly expressed their opposition to the federal healthcare law through their support of State Question 756, a constitutional amendment prohibiting the implementation of key components of PPACA."
RELATED: Gov. makes state-based decision (http://bit.ly/19GuxV9)
Oklahoma Attorney General even filed a lawsuit against the U.S. secretary of DHHS and the secretary of the Department of the Treasury in response to Obamacare's adoption in January 2011, shortly after taking office.
MORE: Read the suit (http://bit.ly/16rHXta)
But state officials aren't the only ones not looking forward to the Oct. 1 launch. A spokeswoman for Hillcrest Health Care System said Wednesday the eight-facility operation has laid off roughly one percent of its workforce -- about 50 employees -- partly in preparation for the changes.
"The Affordable Care Act, changes in Medicare Reimbursement and Oklahoma's decision not to participate in Medicaid expansion have increased financial pressures on hospitals and health systems," said Hillcrest's Angela Peterson.
Want more information on health care changes and coverage? Visit www.healthcare.gov.