MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Opinion

September 24, 2012

State should help with SoonerCare

— Oklahoma should find a way to help those who find themselves without health insurance because of a computer error involving a state agency.

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority told the Phoenix last week that a “computer glitch” prevented the agency from verifying income of families who applied for SoonerCare, Oklahoma’s Medicaid program.

Approximately 8,000 people, including nearly 5,000 children, were dropped from SoonerCare because of incomes that exceeded the program’s maximums.

These people reported their income to the state through a website. The website was supposed to verify income and let applicants know whether their income qualified for SoonerCare coverage.

Instead, the “glitch” allowed people who did not qualify for SoonerCare to be covered for approximately 18 months.

Certainly, there were some who underreported their income to try to milk the system.  Those individuals don’t deserve the state’s help. It would be nearly impossible to determine who was honest and who was not.

However, those who honestly reported their income expecting an honest answer deserve better.

Some of these families qualified for more expensive plans at work. Some of these families dropped their employer’s insurance in favor of SoonerCare and now could be without insurance for months while waiting to qualify for work insurance.

There are many  hard-working, honest, decent people who can’t quite make ends meet — especially when it comes to health care.

These families deserve to be carried for as much as six months on SoonerCare until they can find an adequate replacement.

Our state can’t let children go uninsured because of a mistake at one of its agencies.

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