The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

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September 25, 2013

Report: Oklahomans can access 53 health care plans

(Continued)

OKLAHOMA CITY —

The Affordable Care Act requires all Americans to have health insurance, including plans offered by employers and government programs such as Medicare or Medicaid.

Individuals and families will be able to choose from a variety of bronze, silver, gold and platinum plans as well as catastrophic plans for young adults and those without affordable options.

On average, there are eight different health insurance issuers participating in each of the 36 states with federally operated insurance exchanges, the reports say. Five companies have been approved to participate in Oklahoma's exchange.

Although the exchange will offer an average of 53 health plans, the reports indicate that number will vary by region. Oklahoma City residents, for example, will have 61 plans to choose from.

The reports compare average premiums of the lowest cost silver plan, the second lowest cost silver plan and the lowest cost bronze plan in 48 states, including Oklahoma.

In Oklahoma, the lowest cost silver plan will cost $256 a month when the average of 48 states surveyed will be $310, according to the reports. The second lowest cost silver plan will cost $266 a month in the state when the average will be $328. The lowest cost bronze plan will cost $174 a month in Oklahoma and the average will be $249.

State Insurance Commissioner John Doak, a frequent critic of the health care law, has predicted that health insurance rates will "skyrocket" when it is implemented. On Wednesday, Doak called the federal reports "smoke and mirrors from the Obama administration."

"Facts are facts. Rates are going up in Oklahoma," Doak said in a statement. He said the reports are misleading and that Oklahoma's health insurance rates are already lower than the national average because it has a competitive insurance market.

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