Objectives: To assess longitudinal patterns of community health center (CHC) utilization and the effect of insurance discontinuity after Oregon's 2008 Medicaid expansion (the Oregon Experiment).
Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study with electronic health records and Medicaid data. We divided individuals who gained Medicaid in the Oregon Experiment into those who maintained (n = 788) or lost (n = 944) insurance coverage. We compared these groups with continuously insured (n = 921) and continuously uninsured (n = 5416) reference groups for community health center utilization rates over a 36-month period.
Results: Both newly insured groups increased utilization in the first 6 months. After 6 months, use among those who maintained coverage stabilized at a level consistent with the continuously insured, whereas it returned to baseline for those who lost coverage.
Conclusions: Individuals who maintained coverage through Oregon's Medicaid expansion increased long-term utilization of CHCs, whereas those with unstable coverage did not.
Policy implications: This study predicts long-term increase in CHC utilization following Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion and emphasizes the need for policies that support insurance retention.