New study: Oregon could see up to 320,000 new Medicaid enrollees due to COVID-19

A new report estimates Oregon could see up to 320,000 new Medicaid enrollees due to the economic downturn stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Under that same scenario, the report estimates up to 430,000 individuals could lose their employer-sponsored health insurance.

The report comes from Health Management Associates (HMA), a national health care research and consulting firm.



HMA’s analysis evaluates three different unemployment scenarios and the impacts they would have on enrollment in Medicaid, ACA marketplaces, employer-sponsored coverage, and the number of uninsured individuals in all 50 states.

The “low” unemployment scenario assumes a 10% unemployment rate, “medium” assumes 17.5% unemployment, and the “high” scenario assumes 25%. Prior to the spread of COVID-19 in the US, the national unemployment rate was 3%

Along with the 320,000 new Medicaid enrollees under the high unemployment scenario, Oregon could expect to see an additional 31,000 enrolled in the state marketplace, and an additional 78,000 uninsured individuals.

On the 10% unemployment end, the analysis predicts 145,000 people would lose their employer-sponsored insurance and 149,000 additional people would join Medicaid.

Nationwide, the report estimates the number of people receiving coverage through their employer could decrease by 12 to 35 million. Medicaid enrollment could increase by 11 to 23 million, with a potential jump from 71 million enrolled to 94 million.


Image: Health Management Associates


According to the report, the increase in Medicaid is dependent on if displaced workers have access and contact with the Medicaid eligibility system, the operational capacity to enroll large numbers of individuals, and actions by the federal government.

The number of uninsured individuals could increase to up to 40 million, with the largest impacts in non-expansion states.

“This is the first economic downturn since Medicaid expansion, and what we’re experiencing is unprecedented,” said Jay Rosen, founder and president of HMA. “With millions of Americans expected to enroll in Medicaid in the coming months, our COVID-19 impact estimates at the state level are critical for policymakers trying to begin the complex steps of implementing new laws and policies while navigating an array of financial implications.”