SoonerCare is the name given to Oklahoma’s Medicaid program. It is funded jointly by the federal government and Oklahoma’s state government and helps pays medical bills for people who can’t afford to do so on their own.
Because some people get confused about government healthcare programs, it is important to understand that SoonerCare is different from Medicare.
Medicaid and Medicare were both created in 1965, and their goal remains to ease the financial burdens of illnesses on Americans. But there are clear differences between Medicaid and Medicare, although many people may be eligible for both programs.
Essentially, Medicaid (SoonerCare) is a state and federal program that provides health coverage if you have a very low income. Medicare is administered by the federal government and provides health coverage if you are 65 or older or have certain qualifying disabilities, no matter what your level of income is.
Although SoonerCare is funded by both the state and federal government, it is administered by the state of Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) is the state agency that oversees SoonerCare. In Oklahoma, and in all other states, there are certain mandatory benefits that must be offered, but there is also broad leeway to determine how SoonerCare is implemented.
About one out of every four Oklahomans accesses some form of healthcare services through SoonerCare. It’s also estimated that more than 50% of Oklahomans younger than 18 have been enrolled in SoonerCare at some point in their lives.
To be eligible for SoonerCare, you must meet certain requirements before submitting your application:
In general, the following groups of individuals may qualify for SoonerCare services:
After you are approved, if you do move to another state, be sure to notify SoonerCare when you move. If you do not, it will affect your eligibility if you apply for Medicaid in another state.
For applicants approved for benefits when they apply online, eligibility and enrollment are determined in real time and communicated to applicants on a results screen and through Case Status letters. The information includes all programs for which they are eligible, the effective date, their member ID numbers, as well as any additional documentation they must supply and its due date. If a member selects a primary care provider (PCP), the doctor’s name and phone number are listed.
As you can see, Oklahoma requirements for Medicaid Qualification are pretty straight forward, assuming you have someone to give you guidance during your SoonerCare application process.
Before you start the application process, you need to have the following information available:
Most SoonerCare members can apply or renew online. If you do not have internet access, you can apply at your local Oklahoma Department of Human Services office, county health department office or an Indian health center.
Before a SoonerCare application is approved, OHCA partners with other entities to conduct an extensive automated data search on the applicant. OHCA can then spot potential red flags before the application is even completed and request follow-up documentation to verify eligibility before membership is granted. Once an applicant is approved for Soonercare, OHCA audits the member on a daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis to proactively prevent fraud and abuse.
To apply online, go to the Oklahoma Healthcare Authority enrollment page where you will need to create an account and get a member ID number as the first step in applying for benefits.
If you do not have Internet access, you can apply using one of these other options:
SoonerCare no longer processes paper applications. Applicants wanting to use a paper form may download a form from the federal website, healthcare.gov, or they may call the Federally Facilitated Marketplace (FFM) at 1-800-318-2596 and request a paper application to be mailed to them. Please mail the application to the address that is provided. These applications will be evaluated by the FFM, and the information will be given to OHCA.
Not all SoonerCare members can use the online application. For example, if you receive Social Security Income (SSI) payments or cash assistance Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), you must apply at your local DHS office.
If you need assistance with the online application you can call the SoonerCare helpline at 1-800-987-7767 or visit your local Community Action agency.
Under federal law, all states are required to provide the following mandatory Medicaid benefits:
SoonerCare covers a wide variety of healthcare services, but there are certain limitations that apply to make sure that only medically necessary services are provided. In addition, some services are available for children only.
Possible covered services
*Not covered under SoonerCare CHOICE
Additional services for children:
The following programs may provide additional services or more restrictions to the services covered above for enrollees.
SoonerCare Income Guidelines
For 2018, applicants may qualify for SoonerCare Income Guidelines if their tax household’s Modified Adjusted Gross Income is within the following guidelines:
In addition to income, there are various eligibility and benefit packages available. Also, if you think your income is a little too high, you should apply anyway. Some people qualify with slightly higher incomes.
Eligible beneficiaries in Oklahoma receive coverage through Medicare Part A at no cost if they have met eligibility requirements. If you don’t meet requirements, then you will need to buy Part A at a cost of $422 per month if you paid Medicare taxes for less than 30 quarters. If you paid Medicare taxes for 30-39 quarters, then the standard premium will be $232.
The standard Part B premium amount is $134 but could be higher depending on a beneficiaries income. Part B deductible and coinsurance is $183 per year. After a deductible is met, you typically pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for most doctor services (including most doctor services while you're a hospital inpatient), outpatient therapy, and durable medical equipment.
Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, offers a different way to receive Medicare Part A and Part B benefits. Private Medicare providers cover required services and often times offer enhanced coverage in exchange for a beneficiary paying a premium for the added coverage.
Part D coverage pays for prescription drugs and is also offered by Medicare-approved insurance providers at an additional premium.
Part C and Part D coverage will vary by location and provider and will also be based in part on the level of coverage. Higher income consumers may pay more in premiums as well.
For more details on Medicare costs for 2018, go here.
For people who are enrolled in SoonerCare, there are no costs associated with providing care provided that enrollees meet income guidelines for various medical services. Co-pays may apply to some services.
However, SoonerCare pays only the deductibles and a portion of the co-insurance when services are covered by Medicare. OHCA also pays the monthly Medicare Part B premium for SoonerCare members age 65 or older and for certain blind or disabled persons. If an eligible person has other medical insurance, that insurance company must be billed before SoonerCare is billed.
Prescription drugs that are covered by SoonerCare can be filled at any pharmacy or drugstore that accepts SoonerCare.
For adults, there is a limit of six covered prescriptions per month and your pharmacy must give you a generic drug when one is available. Your doctor may also need to have some prescriptions approved by SoonerCare. Prescriptions for birth control, some drugs for HIV/AIDS, some cancer drugs and some smoking cessation products will not count against your prescription limit. There is a co-payment of $4 for each prescription.
For SoonerCare members younger than 21, there are no limits or co-payments for medically necessary prescriptions.
SoonerCare offers free smoking cessation benefits. Covered products include nicotine patches, gums and lozenges, as well as other pills that combat cravings.
Members can get smoking cessation products as a pharmacy benefit for up to 6 months. Those products will not count toward the monthly limits for members age 21 and older.
For more details, call the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline at 1-800-784-8669.
It’s extremely important to remember that no plan is created equal. Yes, there might be standardized Medicare supplement plans, but the prices are almost always different.
The way to determine which Medicare plan is best in Oklahoma is to shop your options. By fully shopping your options you’ll be able to find the best plan that fits you. Below are some considerations for finding which Medicare plan is best in Oklahoma.
Once you have gone through that exercise in full, you’ll be better suited to determine which Medicare plan is best in Oklahoma for you.
Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for various SoonerCare programs. Those include:
This is a Primary Care Case Management program where each member has a medical home. The home provider coordinates all healthcare services for those Oklahomans who qualify for the program. Your medical home means you have one providers who sees you when needed and provides for your overall health needs. This provider continues to treat you as long as you are his or her patient and will coordinate your care with other providers as needed.
You may qualify if you meet the following requirements:
If you became a member using the online enrollment process, you have already chosen a medical home. If you applied by any other method you will need to choose a medical home. You must call the SoonerCare Helpline to choose your medical home at 800-987-7767. Your SoonerCare benefits will be limited if you do not choose a medical home.
You can use the same medical home for your whole family or each family member can choose a different one. Your medical home must be within 45 miles of your home to qualify for SoonerRide. SoonerRide is free transportation for non-emergency care.
For more information on SoonerCare Choice, you can download a SoonerCare Member Handbook which will provide complete enrollment and coverage details.
SoonerCare Supplemental is a plan that may help pay for Medicare cost sharing requirements if you meet low income and limited resources requirements. It provides medical benefits to supplement Medicare Part A, Part B, Part D and cost sharing expenses, such as deductibles and co-insurance.
To apply, visit a local Oklahoma Department of Human Services office and complete an application or download the Request for Benefits form from the DHS website. Complete the form and return it to a local DHS office.
For more information on eligibility for SoonerCare Supplemental, go here.
SoonerCare Traditional is a fee-for-service plan with a statewide network of providers that includes hospitals, family practice doctors, pharmacies and durable medical equipment companies. Members choose from contracted providers to receive any of these services.
All members are initially enrolled in SoonerCare Traditional, however only a small percentage remain in the program. They include:
SoonerCare will not pay for services of a non-SoonerCare provider. A provider's participation in the SoonerCare program is voluntary and SoonerCare members should ask if SoonerCare is accepted before scheduling an appointment.
SoonerPlan is a family planning program for men and women who are not enrolled in other regular SoonerCare programs. Services are available from any contracted SoonerCare provider who offers family planning. SoonerPlan pays for family planning services (birth control), including:
These services will be paid for as long as you are seeking a birth control method. If you are approved, you may be eligible for SoonerPlan for up to 12 months.
The term dual eligible means that people are covered by both Medicare and Medicaid at the same time. In addition to qualifying for Medicaid, people usually qualify for Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B and a Medicare Savings Program that may pay for Medicare deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments when certain conditions are met. Dual eligible people are typically elderly and low income.
The four kinds of Medicare Savings Programs are the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary Program, the Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary Program, the Qualifying Individual Program and the Qualified Disabled and Working Individuals Program. To see if you qualify for any of these programs, contact a SoonerCare office for details and to apply.
Yes. SoonerCare is the name given to Oklahoma’s Medicaid program. The two names are interchangeable.
For all questions about SoonerCare, call the SoonerCare Helpline at 800-987-7767, Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm. There is no 24-hour hotline. If you have a medical emergency, you should call your medical home provider.
You can also visit the Oklahoma Healthcare Authority website for complete SoonerCare information.
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