OHA announces $1.1B in expanded Medicaid coverage coming to Oregon

SALEM, Ore. – Some major additions are coming to Oregon’s Medicaid program.

The state announcing today, it’s one of the first-in-the-nation to pilot new expanded coverage.

$1.1 billion in new federal funding will be coming to Oregon.

The money will be used to expand the Oregon Health Plan to cover additional needs, like food assistance, housing and much more.

The additional money will allow coverage, for the first time, on health-related social needs including food assistance.

The OHA said this is critical for families.

“Lack of healthy food puts children and families at risk of chronic disease and other problems,” OHA director Patrick Allen said. “This waiver additional Medicaid¬†funds to prevent hunger and make people healthy.”

Children will be allowed to stay enrolled in Medicaid up to age six now, preventing any gaps in coverage that previously would occur.

The waiver also includes housing support such as rental assistance for up to six months and the ability to provide devices like air conditioners to those with high-risk clinical needs.

The OHA said these benefits will also help the health of the homeless.

“Oregon will have new resources to stabilize people who are in transition and who’s help is jeopardized because they lack adequate housing,” Allen said. “That means fewer people getting sicker because they are forced to live on the streets.”

The five year program will end in 2027, but most won’t get the new benefits until 2024.

Jackson Care Connect, who provides services through the Oregon Health Plan to over 60,000 people in Jackson County, said they are excited to see the Medicaid expansion.

“It’s really exciting now to see that we have additional resources coming into our state to help make this a more common reality for everyone,” Jackson Care Connect CEO Jennifer Lind said.

Lind said it’s too early to know how many people this will impact in Jackson County.

However, she believes it’s important to address the issue of health-related social needs.

“Our current health conditions is really dictated by social needs we have rather than medical services we get,” she said. “So it’s critical our health outcome for all of us.”

Senator Ron Wyden tweeted today that he’s glad to see Medicaid coverage expand for children ages six and under, as he believe it will keep the community healthier.

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NBC5 News reporter Zachary Larsen grew up in Surprise, Arizona. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. At ASU, Zack interned at Arizona Sports 98.7FM and Softball America. During his Junior year, Zack joined the ASU Sports Bureau. He covered the Fiesta Bowl, the Phoenix Open and major basketball tournaments. Zack enjoys working out, creative writing, music, and rooting for his ASU Sun Devils.
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