For generations in our country – and in our state – there has been a great divide. On one side there are those with the security of adequate health care coverage. Those people are able to see providers when they need to and have access to services that can help keep them healthy. They know that if the worst happens – an accident or a serious illness – their families will not face financial disaster as well.
On the other side of that great divide are people without health care coverage. Their lives are much less secure. They often forgo treatments and know that, if the worse happens to them, it could mean financial ruin.
This week that divide began closing. As you may have already heard, in just over two weeks we had nearly 56,000 responses to fast-track enrollment. That is about 10 percent of the uninsured population in our state, and new responses come in every day.
The fast-track option is available to adults who meet the eligibility requirements for the Oregon Health Plan and are already receiving SNAP benefits or have children in the Healthy Kids program. With a waiver from the federal government, we were able to use one of the key principles of health system transformation – reduce waste and inefficiency – to create a streamlined process to enroll people who have already submitted applications for other programs.
We are working hard to get the word out about fast-track so that people who have received their notification return the form, get enrolled, and have coverage on January 1, 2014. If you know of anyone who got our letter in the mail, please urge them to send it back. You can also download a flyer and materials here.
We can close the great divide one person at a time. Each and every one of us at OHA has a role to play in doing so, directly or indirectly. The work we are doing is making a difference for people, for families, for communities and our state.