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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105

For Immediate Release: January 5, 2012

Sen. Tom Adelson
Sen. Tom Adelson

Sen. Adelson says failed request for insurance company waiver shows
Commission putting industry above consumer protection

State Sen. Tom Adelson said Wednesday’s denial of State Insurance Commissioner John Doak’s request for a waiver to a new federal health law is good news for Oklahoma consumers. Adelson, D-Tulsa, also said it was the latest in a series of actions that show the Commission is more interested in protecting the industry than Oklahoma citizens.

“The State Insurance Commission is supposed to regulate the insurance industry and protect Oklahoma consumers. It appears as though their top priority is protecting the industry they’re supposed to regulate,” Adelson said.

The Commissioner’s waiver request attempted to exempt Oklahoma insurance companies from a requirement to spend 80 to 85 percent of premium on actual medical care. Companies falling below that level must issue rebates to their customers under federal law.

“If a health insurance company pays only 65 cents or less out of every dollar in premiums on medical care, you’d think Commissioner Doak would worry about excessive rates and making sure Oklahomans get some relief,” Adelson said. “Here in Oklahoma, we have one insurance company spending only 45 cents of every premium dollar on medical care, and another only 58 cents.”

Adelson said Doak’s waiver request is the latest in a series of decisions that place the multi-million dollar profits of insurance companies above consumer protection. He pointed to the commissioner’s decision to refuse $1 million in federal funds to review the justification of health insurance premium increases. He was also critical of the passage of emergency rules allowing insurance companies to discriminate against infants from birth to age one.

“Oklahoma law mandates that the Insurance Commissioner’s job is to protect the public by regulating companies so that policyholders aren’t charged excessive rates,” Adelson said. “Instead, the Commission is protecting insurance company profits at the expense of Oklahoma consumers.”

For more information contact:
Sen. Adelson: (405) 521-5551

Inon: Horizontal Blue Band

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