Number of Oregonians Without Health Insurance Falls by 63 Percent
Thursday, September 18, 2014
According to researchers at Oregon Health & Science University and the Oregon Health Authority, the number of uninsured in the state fell by 63 percent over the twelve-month period from June 30, 2013 to June 30, 2014.
“This first glance at Oregon's uninsured rates shows that a significant number of Oregonians have benefited from expansions in access to health insurance," said Peter Graven, Ph.D., health economist with the Center for Health Systems Effectiveness at OHSU and lead author on the study. "Our study found that 95 percent of Oregonians now have health insurance coverage"
The study, which was aimed at estimating the number of uninsured individuals in Oregon as a result of changes that came in with the Affordable Care Act, estimated that in June 2013, that number stood at 550,000, or 14 percent of Oregonians.
That number declined to roughly 202,000 in June of this year, which correlates to just over five percent of the population.
The study – entitled Impacts of the Affordable Care Act on Health Insurance coverage in Oregon – used a methodology developed by the State Health Access Data Assistance Center that assembled data by coverage type on the two June dates.
The data was gathered from the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services, Oregon Health Authority enrollment reports on Oregon Health Plan programs, the 2013 Oregon Health Insurance Survey and the U.S. Census Bureau.
"Since the beginning of the year, nearly all of the previously uninsured patients we care for at Richmond Clinic have gained health insurance coverage," said Christina Milano, M.D., assistant professor of family medicine in the OHSU School of Medicine and family medicine physician at the OHSU Richmond Clinic in Southeast Portland.
"This makes a huge difference for these patients who previously had to pay out of pocket or work out other payment agreements; it's a big weight off their shoulders. There's also a peace of mind that comes with knowing you're covered if you have a critical illness in the future."
The Affordable Care Act had a bumpy rollout in Oregon, involving the state’s troubled health insurance exchange, Cover Oregon. Earlier this year, the board of Cover Oregon voted to move Oregonians attempting to enroll in private health plans to the federal exchange, healthcare.gov.