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Medicaid requirements tighten as pandemic eases

 Several doctors work in an operating room.
The state is reassessing the eligibility of OHP members.

Some Oregonians who receive Medicaid through the Oregon Health Plan are losing their coverage this year.

During the pandemic, the federal government offered states additional funding if they set up continuous enrollment for Medicaid. This meant recipients did not have to renew their coverage every year–once you qualified, you could stay enrolled until the end of the pandemic. During that period, the number of people on the Oregon Health Plan grew from around one million to 1.4 million, around a quarter of the state’s population.

Now that the pandemic has officially ended, the Oregon Health Authority and Oregon Department of Health and Services have to reassess the eligibility of all 1.4 million people by the middle of next year.

Early numbers from the Oregon Health Authority indicate that 300,000 Oregonians are likely to lose their coverage this year.

Erin Fair Taylor is Vice President of Medicaid Programs at PacificSource, a nonprofit health insurance provider that operates across the Pacific Northwest.

“The state has changed some of the eligibility criteria and more people will be eligible now than they were in March of 2020.”

Programs include expanding income eligibility; continuing a Medicaid-like program for immigrants; and for those who do requalify this year, kids won’t need to reapply until they turn six, and adults won’t have to reapply for two years instead of one.

Oregonians can use tools on oregonhealthcare.gov/gethelp to look for alternate health coverage.

Chrissy Ewald is a freelance reporter for KLCC. She first reported for KLCC as the 2023 Snowden Intern.