▶️ ‘Unprecedented’: Oregon Medicaid waiver brings more funds for food, housing


The federal government has approved Oregon’s Medicaid waiver, giving the state $1.1 billion in new federal funds.

This includes “first-in-nation” Medicaid funding for food and housing, according to the Oregon Health Authority.

“The fact that there’s this acknowledgment that if you don’t have housing and you are having medical problems, you have even more of a challenge of getting better. And so acknowledging that housing, food, these difficult social impacts are connected to your health and your care is unprecedented,” said Elaine Knobbs-Seasholtz, Director of Strategy and Development for Mosaic Medical. 

Those facing medical problems will be assessed for “health related social needs.”

The Oregon Health Plan — Oregon’s Medicaid program — will help those who qualify with housing needs for up to six months.

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Food assistance will be another recognized social need.

The other big change: continuous coverage for kids just born to six years old.

“When a community health care worker is able to enroll a child continuously until their sixth birthday, eliminating the need to re-enroll between visits or verify eligibility or meet with that family again in tough circumstances, it means the child is more likely to meet the recommended screenings, well-child checks during a time in their lives when these are most frequent,” said Danielle Sobel with the Oregon Primary Care Association.

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Extended eligibility for adults will also be included.

As for how these needs will be assessed and funds distributed?

“How that is going to be implemented and operationalized and administered, we don’t know yet,” said Knobbs-Seasholtz.

The approved Medicaid waiver will incorporate these changes over the next five years. 

To learn more about who qualifies and the next steps for the approved waiver, you can visit the Oregon Health Authority at this link.


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