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How Many Oregonians Really Have Health Insurance?

<p>Estimates on how many Oregonians now have health insurance differ by about 157,000 people.&nbsp; That&rsquo;s the population of Eugene. <br /><br /></p>

Estimates on how many Oregonians now have health insurance differ by about 157,000 people.  That’s the population of Eugene.

A popular claim among supporters of the Affordable Care Act over the last year has been that 95 percent of Oregonians now have health insurance. The trouble is, the latest figures out of the U.S. Census Bureau put the figure closer to 90 percent.

The two counts differ by about 157,000 people. That’s the population of Eugene.

Peter Graven, a health economist with Oregon Health And Science University, came up with original 95 percent figure, and said there are several reasons for the difference.

For example, some people who responded to the Census may not have known they had insurance.

"A big group of the people that may not have reported it, may not know that when they filled out some form that signed them up for SNAP or some other program, that they were also getting health insurance," Graven said. "So they were enrolled when they showed up for things, but they may not have been behaving like they were covered.”

Graven said the the true share of Oregonians with health insurance probably lies somewhere between 90 and 95 percent — still higher than the 86 percent that had insurance before the Affordable Care Act.

Copyright 2015 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Kristian Foden-Vencil is a reporter and producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting. He specializes in health care, business, politics, law and public safety.