Around 200,000 Oklahomans could lose SoonerCare coverage when public health emergency ends – what you need to know

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As the pandemic winds down, nearly 200,000 SoonerCare members need to be prepared to possibly lose their coverage.

In March of 2020, some Medicaid eligibility requirements were waived to help people who lost their jobs due to COVID-19.

But that could change as the public health emergency could be coming to an end in the future.

Two years ago, life as we knew it changed.

COVID-19 shut down businesses and jobs were lost – leaving many without health insurance for the first time.

Around 200,000 of those Oklahomans turned to SoonerCare for coverage.

“The public health emergency has allowed states to provide continuous coverage for members who qualify for Medicaid, who normally would not be able to have eligibility during that timeframe,” said Melissa Richey, spokesperson for the Oklahoma Health Care Authority.

Now that life is getting back to a little bit more normal, it’s likely that at some point the public health emergency will end.

Those who have now found NEW employment may no longer qualify for SoonerCare.

But when is the real question.

The emergency is extended every 90 days.

“In April, we are expected to be told that the PHE is extending,” Richey said.

However, when the end date comes – states will get a 60-day notice.

“Once that happens, we will then start alerting our members who are ineligible,” said Richey. “It will be a phased-out approach.”

Ineligible Oklahomans will get a second notice 45 days before their end date and a third ten days before their eligibility expires.

“We want to be compassionate and thoughtful in our approach, working with these ineligible members moving forward,” said Richey. “We want to provide them with the resources that are out there, but we also encourage them to work with their employers as they may have a healthcare plan that’s suitable for them.”

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Officials stress – it’s important to make sure your contact information and documents are up to date.

You can update it at mysoonercare.org or by calling the SoonerCare helpline at 1-800-987-7767. The healthcare authority also asks that you respond right away to letters requesting information.

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