Our challenge in today’s marketplace is to select and offer quality plan choices at competitive premiums to employees in metropolitan and rural Oklahoma.
State employees have the opportunity to choose between five health plan carriers, four dental plan carriers, and five vision plan carriers. However, we continue to face challenges in offering HMO choice to rural communities. HMO coverage is limited in these areas due to the current business models of the HMOs and contracting difficulties experienced by HMOs when approaching coverage in areas outside the larger metropolitan regions.
A second important challenge facing EBD is the rising cost of healthcare. We are not immune to the nationwide trends of rising healthcare costs, exacerbated by an aging State workforce and higher-than-average medical plan utilization by employees and their dependents. All of these factors contribute to higher premium costs and point to a continued need for cost containment and wellness efforts.
EBD is positioned to turn these challenges into opportunities. We continue to explore new health insurance concepts and products that emphasize the sharing of costs and provide incentives for employees to be cost conscious when utilizing healthcare. Through these new types of products, we can all become more efficient purchasers and users of healthcare thereby lowering our costs.