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Jackson Care Connect welcomes kids, teens regardless of immigration status

MEDFORD, Ore.—As of March 1, Jackson Care Connect is welcoming more children and teens as members, regardless of immigration status.

This year, the Oregon Health Plan (OHP) started offering health care coverage on open cards to children who were not previously eligible because of their immigration status. In March, care for those on this program is transitioning to the state’s Coordinated Care Organizations (CCOs), including Jackson Care Connect.

“To keep our community healthy, it’s important that everyone have access to health care,” says Jennifer Lind, Jackson Care Connect’s CEO. “We are happy to provide that access to a group that hasn’t had the opportunity before.”

The program was initiated by the 2017 Oregon Legislature’s “Cover All Kids” legislation, which is now promoted as “OHP Now Covers Me!” The program is funded solely with state dollars, unlike Medicaid, which uses both state and federal resources. And unlike Medicaid, it can be used for children who are ineligible under federal law because of their immigration status.

State law prohibits the sharing of membership and care data from this state program with federal immigration officials.

The program provides health coverage without charge for those who meet age, income and other criteria. The program covers the same physical, behavioral and dental care services as the OHP Plus plan, such as check-ups, dental care, glasses and prescriptions. It also covers labs, x-rays and hospital care, and pays for interpreters at appointments and rides to and from the doctor’s office.

“This program is meaningful because now all children in the state of Oregon can get health coverage,” Lind says.

Anyone younger than 19 who would benefit from this program can sign up through the Oregon Health Plan. Applicants can sign up at http://www.oregon.gov/oha/HSD/OHP/Pages/Apply.aspx, by calling 800-699-9075 (711 for TTY), or by finding an OHP-certified community partner in their community: http://www.oregon.gov/oha/HSD/OHP/Documents/OHP-Certified%20Community%20Partner%20Directory.pdf. About 17,000 children are expected to sign up statewide.

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