Oregon Health Authority Gains flexibility in its Medicaid Program to Better Serve Low-Income Oregonians During COVID-19 Pandemic

Posted on March 31, 2020

The Oregon Health Authority has received flexibility from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to remove barriers for Oregonians to qualify for, enroll in, and stay enrolled in the Oregon Health Plan (OHP). Oregon has also received flexibility for providers to provide care to members as the state responds to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly one in four Oregonians currently receives health coverage through OHP.

“The COVID-19 pandemic requires us to act quickly to support the needs of our communities,” said Patrick Allen, director of the Oregon Health Authority. “This added flexibility in our Medicaid program is going to allow us to more quickly get people access to health care and expand our health system to meet the challenges of this public health emergency.”

The key areas of flexibility that Oregon will gain from this waiver include:

  • All members who are currently enrolled in the Oregon Health Plan will not lose coverage during this crisis. This includes coverage that is only state-funded (i.e. Cover all Kids).
  • Individuals can sign up for OHP without having to verify their income (submit a pay stub) with their application. They will be able to self-attest, which will help Oregonians get access to OHP coverage more quickly.
  • Federal stimulus payments and increased unemployment payments will not affect OHP eligibility. They will not be counted during the application process or when members report a change in their household.
  • Oregon will have additional flexibility to add to its healthcare workforce, provide treatment in temporary sites, and for paying providers during this public health emergency.

Additional information and guidance related to COVID-19 for coordinated care organizations (CCOs) and providers serving OHP members is available on the OHA website. A fact sheet for OHP members about their coverage and COVID-19 can be downloaded on the OHP website in English and in Spanish.

Stay informed about COVID-19:
Oregon response: The Oregon Health Authority leads the state response.
United States response: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention leads the U.S. response.
Global response: The World Health Organization guides the global response.

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