Number Of Oregonians Using Health Insurance Marketplace Drops Slightly

The number of Oregonians buying individual health insurance for 2021 through the federal marketplace dropped slightly this year, likely in part because the incomes of many state residents declined and they were eligible to enroll in the state’s Medicaid program, the Oregon Health Plan.

Nearly 141,000 Oregonians chose health plans for next year through HealthCare.gov, the state said Monday. That’s down from about 145,000 people, a 3% decline, this year.

The drop is no surprise, as the COVID-19-driven economic slump has cost the state tens of thousands of jobs in retail and other sectors. Total employment in the state is down about 50,000 from just prior to the onset of the pandemic. As people have lost their jobs, many have also lost employer-provided health insurance, and many have turned to the no-cost Oregon Health Plan.

“More Oregonians (are) qualifying for and remaining enrolled in the Oregon Health Plan,” said Chiqui Flowers, administrator of the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace. Membership in the Oregon Health Plan now stands at more than 1.2 million, up more than 150,000 people from March.

The vast majority of the state’s 4.2 million residents receive health insurance from Medicaid, Medicare or commercial plans provided by employers, including the government. Only a small number, who typically do not qualify for Medicaid, Medicare or employer plans, use the HealthCare.gov marketplace. The marketplace system offers plans from a variety of commercial insurers and provides federal government subsidies to individuals who meet income limits. About three-quarters of those who enroll through the marketplace qualify for subsidies for premiums and other expenses.

 You can reach Christian Wihtol at [email protected].

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