More than 145,000 Oregonians signed up for health insurance through HealthCare.gov during open enrollment last month.
That’s equivalent to the populations of Gresham and Redmond combined.
But it’s also a drop over last year, when 148,000 people signed up. That, too, was a drop from the year before.
The Trump administration has worked consistently to block the Affordable Care Act. It reduced the website’s advertising budget and filed lawsuits to end the requirement that everyone have insurance.
So Chiqui Flowers, the administer of the Oregon Insurance Marketplace, thinks a 2% drop isn’t so bad.
“It’s a very positive sign for me that it’s only a 2% decrease, which follows the nationwide trend I think, that there is a slight decrease across the nation,” said Flowers.
The Healthcare.gov marketplace provides insurance mainly for people who are self-employed or who don’t get their insurance through their workplace.
“In many cases, Oregonians whose health and future might have been in jeopardy because they did not have access to insurance find that the plans and subsidies available through HealthCare.gov help make insurance more affordable for them” she said.
About 94% of Oregonians now have some form of health insurance. That’s an increase of about 11% over the last decade. The change has been attributed to programs like the Affordable Care Act and the Children’s Health Insurance Plan.
Oregonians who signed up for coverage must pay their premium when they receive their January bill to make coverage effective.
Most of the 145,000 people who enrolled recently, were simply re-enrolling — so their insurance continues from last year to this year.
Also, Oregonians who experience a life change, like losing job, becoming pregnant or getting married, may qualify for a special enrollment period to get insurance through the Affordable Care Act.