In Short

State seeks individuals to outline new health insurance plan for low-income Oregonians

By: - March 29, 2022 2:21 pm
health insurance marketplace

Katie Button of the Department of Consumer and Business Services (right) helps a consumer pick a health care plan on the federal online marketplace. (Department of Consumer and Business Services)

The Oregon Health Authority is looking for people with a range of experience to help design a new health care plan to cover up to 300,000 low-income Oregonians. 

The plan will mark a major shift in health care insurance in Oregon by extending taxpayer assisted coverage to low-income Oregonians who earn just a bit too much for Medicaid.

To apply:

Go here.


Katie Button

This year the state will be looking at the 1.4 million Oregonians currently on Medicaid to determine who still qualifies under the income requirements. An individual can earn up to about $19,000 a year; the income level is set at about $32,000 a year for a family of three.

A committee that the state is forming will work on outlining a new plan for people who earn too much for Medicaid but are still considered low income: up to $27,000 annually for an individual and $46,000 for a family of three. The state expects anywhere from 90,000 to 300,000 people currently covered by Medicaid to be booted during the redetermination process. They’d have the option to buy their own insurance on the federal online marketplace though many would likely remain uninsured.

The committee is tasked with proposing a bridge plan to provide health care coverage for these people who typically bounce on and off of Medicaid as their incomes change. 

The program will be paid with federal subsidies that would normally go to people signing up for health care coverage through the online marketplace, provided the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services agrees.

The 21-member Bridge Program Task Force will include four positions appointed by state legislators and four government agency officials. The people filling the remaining 13 slots will be appointed by Gov. Kate Brown.

The health authority is seeking low-income workers for one seat. Other seats will go to health equity experts, a person with experience helping consumers pick health insurance plans, a union representative, a member of the health insurance industry, an official who works for a Medicaid insurer, a hospital or health system employee, a behavioral health expert, dentist and two members of insurance advisory committees. 

Brown will appoint the members next month and they are expected to produce a plan by Sept. 1. Meetings are expected to take place every three weeks for three hours in the afternoon. Some committee members may be paid for their time or expenses.

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Lynne Terry
Lynne Terry

Lynne Terry has more than 30 years of journalism experience, including a recent stint as editor of The Lund Report, a highly regarded health news site. She reported on health and food safety in her 18 years at The Oregonian, was a senior producer at Oregon Public Broadcasting and Paris correspondent for National Public Radio for nine years.