Insure Oklahoma companies steel themselves for program's demise
BY PAULA BURKES NewsOK.com
Monday, March 04, 2013
CHICKASHA — At 92 employees, Cimarron Trailers falls among the ranks of U.S. employers — those with 50 or more full time equivalent workers who, starting Jan. 1, must provide health insurance to its employees or face steep annual penalties under health care reform.
Cimarron, which makes custom aluminum stock trailers in Chickasha that are sold nationwide, has offered group health insurance since it opened February 2004. The problem: since 2009, some 42 percent of its eligible workers take advantage of slashed monthly insurance payments under Insure Oklahoma — a 7-year-old, state-run income- and family size-based premium assistance program for qualifying individuals and employees of businesses with 99 or fewer workers.
Insure Oklahoma may die in December, paradoxically, because of health reform.
“I fear for our employees, and how it will affect them, if they lose the Insure Oklahoma subsidies,” said Lynn Terry, who co-owns Cimarron with her husband, Michael.
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Clif Cypert, left, human resources director, and Cimarron Trailers co-owners Mike and Lynn Terry are on the factory floor in Chickasha. STEVE SISNEY/NewsOK.com