Report on Cover Oregon Consumer Advisory Committee

by Roberta Hall,  Oct. 17, 2014

Despite all the bad news about Cover Oregon, its CAC met Oct. 17, with new Executive Director Aaron Patnode in attendance throughout. As a final comment, he reported that there is NO option for any state NOT to have an exchange, though Cover Oregon likely will be housed under another agency. A brief update concerning 2015 and for details contact member Bobbi Hall at rlhall@peak.org:

Budget will be 12 to 15 million dollars, down from 90 million this year; expanded Medicaid enrollees who entered via Fast-Track (Food-Stamp recipients) will need to apply, but other current enrollees will be sent a form to certify that their financial situation has not changed (or has); most people will apply via Healthcare.gov; new OHP clients can enroll anytime as can tribal members and certain others, but for most, enrollment begins Nov. 15; Navigators as well as Agents are receiving training on the use of Healthcare.gov. This past year approximately 100 small businesses (with 2 to 50 employees) were enrolled; they did not use the website and again will enroll directly but the federal government has told Cover Oregon that internet access must be ready for these businesses before the end of 2015.

Main news is the numbers: Medicaid increased 58% this year, from 614,000 to 976,000; about 77,000 Oregonians enrolled in a Qualified Health Plan. Currently  about 1,694,657 people are in either OHP or Medicare, out of 3,961,514 people so that makes ~43% covered by what is primarily federally-paid health insurance. About 5.1% of the population now lack health insurance (down from 14%) while about 5.5% have private insurance and ~46.5% have group insurance (mostly through employers). Much insurance covers an average of 70% of health care costs, however.