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Oregon Builds Health Care Bridge Program, Prioritizes Equity

Recent legislation in Oregon created a bridge program task force, which will develop a proposal to provide affordable health insurance coverage and improve continuity of coverage for individuals who regularly enroll and disenroll in the medical assistance program or other health care coverage due to frequent income fluctuations.

This program offers a health care option for individuals who will be disenrolled from Medicaid at the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency, and, in the future, potentially will cover those who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid and too little to afford private insurance.

Of note, the task force is required to:

  • prioritize health equity, the reduction in the number of uninsured individuals in Oregon, and the promotion of continuous health care coverage for communities facing health inequities;
  • be consistent with already established health care coordination and delivery systems;
  • ensure that the bridge program is available to all Oregon residents with incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines who do not qualify for the medical assistance program but do qualify for advance premium tax credit;
  • leverage available federal funds; and
  • provide, at a minimum, all essential health benefits, and provide dental coverage if available.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) has appointed 13 members to the task force, who bring experience and expertise in health equity, health insurance navigation, care coordination, hospital care, behavioral health, oral health, and Medicaid policy. The task force has until September 2022 to complete a proposal.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Abigail Painchaud is a policy associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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