The Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) released a number of reports on December 14th summarizing, among other things, the number of Oklahomans enrolled in SoonerCare. Among the reports released by the OHCA was a summary of children age 18 and under covered by SoonerCare and the numbers per county as of November 2017. The report also disclosed the number of children 18 and under covered by SoonerCare in December 1999.
The report discloses the “Percent of Change” between December 1999 and November 2017. Many counties, such as Canadian County, which have experienced a surge in population in the last 18 years show substantial change – 229% in the case of Canadian County.
The “Percent of Change”, does not necessarily reflect whether a given county’s population of children are suffering economic disparities qualifying children for SoonerCare. The Senior Legal News has compared the population for Oklahoma Counties in 2016 using data from the U.S. Census and has estimated the percentage of children in a given county qualifying for SoonerCare (the estimates are non-scientific and based upon two varying date points – 2017 and 2016 – and also involve discounted, reduced numbers provided by OHCA which include 18 year olds due to the U.S. Census provision of population estimates for children “under 18”).
The results show that of Oklahoma’s 77 counties, in 48 of those counties, the majority of children age 18 and under qualify for and are covered by SoonerCare. While Canadian County experienced a surge from 1999 to 2017 with an increase of 229% of children enrollees, Canadian County has the second lowest percentage of children enrolled in SoonerCare – 31.2%. Osage County holds the top spot (or perhaps the lowest spot) with only 23.8% of children enrolled in SoonerCare.
Twenty-six Oklahoma Counties have 60% or more of their under 18 population enrolled in SoonerCare. Rounding out the top ten counties are Adair County (78.7%), Latimer County (71.7%), Pushmataha County (71.6%), McCurtain County (71.5%), Hughes County (71.2%), Choctaw County (70.2%), Jefferson County (69.4%), Sequoyah (67.4%), Ottawa County (66.9%) and Harmon County (65.6%).
Across the state, 51.5% of children (524,615 of approximately 961,272 children) are enrolled in SoonerCare. In contrast, in 1999, OHCA reports that 246,761 children were enrolled in SoonerCare.
In 2007, OHCA reported that 406,069 children (age 18 and under) were enrolled in SoonerCare. In the same year, Oklahoma’s legislature passed the Oklahoma All Kids Act which expanded the income qualification for SoonerCare so that families making 300% of the federal poverty level would qualify for SoonerCare coverage with respect to their children. At the time, estimates suggested that an additional 42,000 children would qualify for SoonerCare as a result of the All Kids Act.