Health Care Consolidation

Oklahoma City, OK – Okla. Legislature OKs bill to consolidate agencies

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) A bill to consolidate two state agencies and modify the health care benefits system for state workers is heading to the governor's desk.

The bill approved Thursday in the House and Senate merges the Oklahoma State and Education Employees Group Insurance Board and the Oklahoma Employees Benefits Council into one new agency. The new entity will be called the Oklahoma Health and Wellness Board.

The nearly 300-page bill also imposes a new competitive bidding process for a state employees' HMO. Supporters say the change will lower the cost of the plan for state employees by reducing administrative costs.

The state also hopes to realize savings by moving to one HMO plan, which is designed to stabilize the benefit allowance for state employees.