New Survey Says Oklahomans Trust Doctors Over Insurance Companies

OKLAHOMA CITY, April 9, 2024 -- Almost nine-in-ten Oklahoma voters support legislation that would limit insurance companies' ability to interfere in the doctor-patient relationship by denying coverage for recommended treatments.

That’s according to a new poll released today by the Oklahoma State Medical Association. The survey, conducted March 11-17 by Cole Hargrave Snodgrass & Associates, included more than 500 Oklahoma voters. The respondents were asked about the role the government and insurance companies play in determining health care for patients.

“These survey results show that when it comes to medical decisions, Oklahomans trust doctors far more than insurance companies,” said Diane Heaton, M.D., president of the Oklahoma State Medical Association. “Oklahomans are making their voices heard; they don’t want insurance companies determining their health care treatments or outcomes. Patients want to make medical decisions in partnership with their doctor, not a faceless algorithm.”

This is significant as the legislature considers HB 3190, which would reform how prior authorization works in Oklahoma. Known as the “Ensuring Transparency in Prior Authorization Act,” the bill would require insurance companies to post prior authorization requirements for medical treatments online. The bill would also require insurance companies to utilize licensed medical professionals in the same specialty to make determinations that would deny care for patients, and it establishes time frames and procedures for insurance companies to make authorization changes to previously approved treatments.

“When care is urgently needed, Insurance companies shouldn’t be able to run out the clock on patients. Oklahoma doctors will tell you that the insurance industry shell game is costing patients vital care, and in some instances, it’s costing Oklahomans their lives. We hope the legislature will stand up for Oklahomans and against big insurance,” continued Dr. Heaton.

Other findings from the survey include:

Oklahoma voters have a very favorable view of medical doctors in the state, with 85% of all voters holding a positive view. Voter opinions of physicians are significantly more positive than their opinions of the health insurance system.

Only 32% of voters have a positive view of the health insurance system while 57% hold an unfavorable impression – and 36% say their impression is strongly unfavorable.

Oklahomans oppose any government laws “getting between me and my doctor” by a very wide margin (88% agree with this statement). This issue transcends all partisan, ideological, geographic and other socio-demographic sectors.

More than eight in ten voters (84%) SUPPORT prior authorization reform related to health insurance companies requiring prior authorization when a doctor is ordering tests or procedures. This percentage is 80% among Republican primary voters and hits 90% among registered Independents.

House Bill 3190 passed the Senate Retirement and Insurance Committee last week and may be heard in Senate Appropriations as early as tomorrow morning.