MM Curator summary
[MM Curator Summary]: The Oregon legislature is working on a bill to require the HHS agency to have a plan for Medicaid eligibility redetermination efforts that do not push people back into uninsured status.
The article below has been highlighted and summarized by our research team. It is provided here for member convenience as part of our Curator service.
PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon is a step closer to creating a bridge plan for those who stand to lose their Medicaid coverage once the Covid-19 public health emergency ends.
House Bill 4035, which passed the Oregon Senate on Thursday, requires the Oregon Health Authority to develop plans for redetermining Medicaid eligibility and maintaining members’ access to insurance coverage.
During the pandemic, Oregon and other states hit the pause on doing regular redeterminations of Medicaid eligibility to ensure that no one lost access to care. The state’s Medicaid rolls grew by more than 300,000 to 1.4 million members, increasing Oregon’s insured rate to an all-time high of nearly 96%.
“Underinsurance has fallen precipitously for people of color,” said Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, a Portland Democrat and chair of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means, who carried HB 4035 on the Senate floor.
Those earning between 138% and 200% of the federal poverty level, she noted, “are the most likely to churn on and off Medicaid, costing their own health and everyone money and our state (is) the poorer for it. It’s an important bill to allow Oregon to stay at the forefront of health system transformation.”
The state has a year to complete the eligibility redeterminations after the public health emergency ends, which is expected to happen in April. About 55,000 people could likely be disqualified from Medicaid but may not be able to afford to buy their own insurance through the Oregon Marketplace. The bill establishes goals, including maintaining access and minimizing disruptions by phasing in redeterminations for vulnerable populations.