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Oregon clears Medicaid backlog, removes 55,000 people

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Oregon has removed nearly 55,000 people off of its Medicaid program after a backlog of eligibility checks was processed.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports (http://bit.ly/2gy2CXJ ) the state kicked out people they found no longer qualified for the program or failed to respond to the eligibility check. The state's announcement came Thursday, which was the Oregon Health Authority's deadline to clear the backlog of 115,000 Medicaid enrollees.

The backlog developed because of technology troubles and the increase in Medicaid enrollment under the Affordable Care Act.

Annual eligibility reviews typically find about 28 percent of Oregonians on Medicaid no longer qualify. The latest removal was 48 percent.

Medicaid provides health care for people with low incomes, so to qualify in Oregon a single person cannot earn more than $17,000 a year.

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Oregon Health Authority news release:

SALEM -- The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has finalized the cleanup of Medicaid member eligibility.

*OHA met an August 31 deadline set for the agency by Governor Kate Brown.*

-- Governor Brown set the deadline to ensure all Oregonians on Medicaid who are due for an eligibility renewal were assessed as quickly as possible.

-- OHA kept the federal government informed throughout the Medicaid renewal process.

*The 115,233 Medicaid renewals completed under the Action Plan do not change the Medicaid forecast for the 2017-2019 biennium or the state budget.*

-- OHA found that the remaining 22,937 cases determined to no longer qualify for benefits account for little more than 2 percent of the more than one million Oregon Health Plan members.

*All current Oregon Medicaid cases are now on a regular Medicaid eligibility renewal cycle.*

-- A total of 951,186 Medicaid eligibility renewals have been completed by OHA since March 2016. For more than two years OHA, the Department of Human Services (DHS) and many private sector and non-profit partners engaged in an intensive effort to restore Medicaid renewals to standard operations.

-- Incoming OHA Acting Director Pat Allen has been charged with making organizational changes to improve the Medicaid renewal process to ensure accuracy, the wise use of taxpayer dollars, and make sure that everyone who is eligible for Medicaid has access to it.

*Action Plan Preliminary Report*: http://www.oregon.gov/oha/ERD/Pages/OHAMeetsGovernorBrownsCall2CompleteMedicaidRenewals.aspx


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