Kyle Thompson and his family are all going to have health coverage in Oregon, thanks to the state’s successful effort to enroll people in Medicaid.
Oregon might be seen as a complete failure or a surprising success when it comes to its health insurance exchange.
One the one hand, the state’s website has yet to allow a single person to enroll. That’s a big problem for the folks who are hoping to qualify for subsidies and buy insurance that will start Jan. 1.
But for the state’s poorest residents, a workaround has helped 70,000 people secure coverage in Oregon’s version of Medicaid. The state is one of 25 expanding Medicaid to adults who haven’t previously qualified.
One of them is Kyle Thompson, who lives in the farming community of Jefferson. Since his work as a tile cutter ended during the recession, he hasn’t been able to afford health care. But his two children qualified for Medicaid (the Oregon Health Plan), and the state had all the family’s income and other details on file.
So when the state sent out about 260,000 applications to families like the Thompsons — with incomes less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level — to enroll them in Medicaid, they jumped on the opportunity.
“I filled it out. I sent it off. Me and my wife are really excited in having the health care coming up because it’s not something that’s been an option for us,” he said.
Oregon Health Plan spokeswoman Patty Wentz says the letters were so successful, another batch will go out any day now. There’s
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