Alert: this is an alert
PORTLAND, Ore.—Starting March 1, CareOregon will be welcoming more children and teens as members, regardless of immigration status.
This year, the Oregon Health Plan (OHP) started offering health care coverage on open cards to children who were not previously eligible because of their immigration status. In March, care for those on this program is transitioning to the state’s Coordinated Care Organizations (CCOs).
CareOregon is the largest provider of Oregon Health Plan services in the state. Through its relationships with four CCOs, CareOregon covers nearly one third of the state’s Medicaid population.
“For healthy communities and a healthy state, it’s important that everyone have access to health care,” said Erin Fair Taylor, CareOregon’s Chief Legal Officer. “We’re happy to be able to ensure access to care to a population that historically hasn’t had that opportunity.”
The program was initiated by the 2017 Oregon Legislature’s “Cover All Kids” legislation, which is now promoted as “OHP Now Covers Me!” The program is funded solely with state dollars, unlike Medicaid, which uses both state and federal resources. And unlike Medicaid, it can be used for children who are ineligible under federal law because of their immigration status.
Fair Taylor emphasizes that state law prohibits the sharing of membership and care data from this state program with federal immigration officials.
“It is critical that children and teens get health care without fear,” Fair Taylor said.
The program provides health coverage without charge for those who meet age, income and other criteria. The program covers the same physical, behavioral and dental care services as the OHP Plus plan, such as check-ups, dental care, glasses and prescriptions. It also covers labs, x-rays and hospital care, and pays for interpreters at appointments and rides to and from the doctor’s office.
“The most exciting thing about this program is that there is now an option for every single child in the state of Oregon to get health coverage,” Fair Taylor said, and added, “If you know anyone younger than 19 who would benefit and they haven’t heard about the program, they can sign up through the Oregon Health Plan.”
Applicants can sign up at http://www.oregon.gov/oha/HSD/OHP/Pages/Apply.aspx, by calling 800-699-9075 (711 for TTY), or by finding an OHP-certified community partner in their community: http://www.oregon.gov/oha/HSD/OHP/Documents/OHP-Certified%20Community%20Partner%20Directory.pdf. About 17,000 children are expected to sign up statewide.