New Oregon Health Plan Enrollees Skew Younger And Healthier

The hundreds of thousands of Oregonians who signed up for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act last year, are younger and healthier than expected -- according to a new study out of the state.

The age and health of new Oregon Health Plan enrollees is important, because on average a population is more expensive to care for if it's older and sicker.

But Lori Coyner with the Oregon Health Authority says the 380,000 Oregonians who were added to Medicaid last year, tended to be young and healthy.

"The biggest jump has been in the age 19 to 35 and then 35 to people in their 50s," said Coyner. "They do not have, it appears, a lot of what's called 'pent-up demand,' meaning that they are very sick and they haven't seen a doctor."

Other parts of the report show Oregon's Coordinated Care Organizations continue to see a decrease in ER visits and fewer hospital re-admissions. That has helped the bottom line, keeping the average cost of care below what it was 2011.

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