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Initial filings reveal stabilization as rate review season kicks off - 05/14/19

Salem — Oregon consumers can get a first look at requested rates for 2020 individual and small group health insurance plans.

In the individual market, seven companies submitted rate change requests ranging from an average 3.2 percent decrease to an average 13.5 percent increase, for an average of 3.3 percent. In the small group market, nine companies submitted rate change requests ranging from an average 0.3 percent decrease to an average 13.1 percent increase, for an average of 8.7 percent. See the attached chart for the full list of rate change requests.

“It’s early in the process, but we are encouraged to see carriers providing more options to Oregonians by expanding into both rural and coastal communities, and the market stabilizing in spite of uncertainty at the federal level,” said Insurance Commissioner Andrew Stolfi. “Now it is time to start our open and thorough review process that allows Oregonians to provide input on the filings that affect them.”

Moderate rate increase requests, recent health insurance company financial statements, and expansion into additional counties by multiple carriers reveal that the Oregon health insurance market is stabilizing in spite of continued uncertainty at the federal level. The Oregon Reinsurance Program continues to help stabilize the market as well. It consistently lowers rates by 6 percent each year.

Health insurance companies submitted rate requests to the Department of Consumer and Business Services, Division of Financial Regulation on May 13. Over the next two months, the division will analyze the requested rates to ensure they adequately cover Oregonians’ health care costs. The division must review and approve rates before they are charged to policyholders.

The requested rates are for plans that comply with the Affordable Care Act for small businesses and individuals who buy their own coverage rather than getting it through an employer.

Later this month, Oregonians will be able to compare their health plans and submit comments at oregonhealthrates.org. Public hearing dates will also be posted to the site.

Oregonians are encouraged to comment on rate change requests during the public comment period, which opens later this month and runs through early July. The public can submit comments online and during the public rate hearings.

Preliminary decisions are expected to be announced late June, and final decisions will be made in late July.

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About DCBS: The Department of Consumer and Business Services is Oregon's largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. For more information, go to dcbs.oregon.gov.

About Oregon DFR: The Division of Financial Regulation is part of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, Oregon’s largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. Visit dcbs.oregon.gov and dfr.oregon.gov.

 

 

 

Future Income Payments LLC fined $5.9 million for targeting pensions of veterans and retirees - 05/07/19

(Salem) – Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Katherine von Ter Stegge fined Future Income Payments LLC $5.9 million for executing a scheme on approximately 240 Oregon veterans and retirees. The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services’ Division of Financial Regulation and the Department of Justice sued Future Income, owned by Scott Kohn, for the scheme which provided illegal loans to low-income Oregonians with interest up to 200 percent.

 

The scheme required borrowers to authorize Future Income to make electronic withdrawals from their pension or retirement accounts to repay the loans. This provided Future Income the ability to remove money from victims’ accounts despite violating multiple Oregon and federal laws.

 

In addition to the judgment, the court declared all the loans void, saving victims more than $5 million in principal, interest, and fees. Since the judgement, a number of other states and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have taken similar action against Kohn and Future Income. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina indicted Kohn and Future Income last month for conspiracy to engage in mail and wire fraud.

 

“The collaboration with Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and the Department of Justice was key in this case,” said Andrew Stolfi, division administrator. “Preying on the hard-earned pensions of our veterans and retirees is disgraceful, and all our teams work hard to protect Oregonians from being victims of illegal schemes like this.”

 

Oregonians are encouraged to know before you owe by making sure loan companies like Future Income are legally registered with the state before signing any agreement. For more resources to protect your finances visit dfr.oregon.gov/financial or contact our advocates at 888-877-4894 (toll free).

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About DCBS: The Department of Consumer and Business Services is Oregon's largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. For more information, visit www.dcbs.oregon.gov. 

 

About Oregon DFR: The Division of Financial Regulation is part of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, Oregon’s largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. Visit www.dcbs.oregon.gov and http://dfr.oregon.gov/Pages/index.aspx.

 

Ceremony will honor fallen Oregon workers April 26 - 04/24/19

(Salem) – It’s a day to remember those who died on the job. It’s a day to grieve with families, friends, and communities. It’s a day to reflect on – and renew – our responsibility to build and preserve safe and healthy workplaces.

Oregon workers who died on the job will be honored with a ceremony Friday, April 26, at noon in Salem. The state’s Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA) and the Oregon AFL-CIO invite Oregonians to attend the Workers Memorial Day observance. The event will take place at the Fallen Workers Memorial outside the Labor and Industries Building, 350 Winter St. NE, on the Capitol Mall.

The memorial service, coordinated by the Oregon AFL-CIO, will feature remarks from Oregon Gov. Kate Brown.  

“No family can feel stable and secure when they’re worried about the safety of their loved ones. And no job is worth the cost of a life,” Gov. Brown said. “I want every single worker to return home safely at the end of their work day. The best way we can honor our family, friends, and colleagues who have died earning a living is by ensuring a safe workplace for every Oregonian – and putting an end to workplace fatalities.”

State Rep. Tiffany Mitchell and Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle will read the names of Oregon workers who died on the job in 2018. Oregon OSHA Administrator Michael Wood and Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain will also be among the event speakers.

“On April 26 we mourn the fallen, and fight for the living by recommitting to fight for stronger workplace safety protections,” Chamberlain said. “Each of the names we read on April 26 has family, community, friends, co-workers – people who miss them dearly. These are preventable deaths, workplace accidents. We have to do more as a state to protect working people.” 

Driven by efforts on the part of labor, business, and government, Oregon has seen its workplace fatality rate steadily decline for decades. Yet, there are still far too many preventable on-the-job deaths each year. And recent data suggest the overall downward trend appears to have flattened out.

“This year, as we look upon the families and friends of those lost on the job, we must do so with a renewed commitment,” Wood said. “We must do better, because it is not enough to mourn and remember. We must face forward. We must fully confront the risks of death in our workplaces and fight like never before to identify and eliminate their causes.”

The annual Workers Memorial Day serves as a nationwide day of remembrance. The observance is traditionally held on April 28 because Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act on that date in 1970.

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Oregon OSHA, a division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, enforces the state’s workplace safety and health rules and works to improve workplace safety and health for all Oregon workers. For more information, visit www.osha.oregon.gov.

The Department of Consumer and Business Services is Oregon’s largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. For more information, go to www.dcbs.oregon.gov.

The Oregon AFL-CIO is the statewide federation of affiliated unions, representing over 300,000 working Oregonians.  Learn more at www.oraflcio.org.

 

Parkrose - 1st place winners - photo
Parkrose - 1st place winners - photo
Parkrose High School students win safety video contest (Photo) - 04/22/19

(Salem) – Students at Parkrose High School in Portland won $500 for their first-place video titled “The Safety Bros” in an annual safety video contest that promotes young worker safety and the importance of speaking up.

Bouncing with music, energy, and humor, the video features a duo of workplace safety and health bros who rally a group of workers to the cause of speaking up and working safe by spurring them to join “a most excellent song and dance number.”

The hip-hop-infused bros, clad in leather jackets and shades, lead the dancing, clapping, and singing while rapping about on-the-job hazards, including old equipment, faulty wires, messy floors, and a lack of training.

Parkrose High School also won a matching amount of prize money.

Chad McAdams, a senior at Parkrose who plays one of the safety bros, said the first-place win “was just really a big and awesome accomplishment for all of us to do.” And he and his video-producing teammates learned a lot along the way. “There’s no reason you shouldn’t say something if you don’t think what you’re doing is safe,” he said. “If you don’t say something, you can really get hurt.”

This year’s contest was McAdams’ second time participating in the safety video contest. He directed 2018’s “Welcome to Recyc Corp,” for which the Parkrose team tied for third place. McAdams hopes to become a filmmaker. “I’m thinking more of like a director who makes original films based off their own writing,” he said. “I have big plans for film.”

The other members of the winning Parkrose High School team are:

Shanahan Sweet

Jason Taylor

Nayely Interian

Mason Swinehart

Hunter Fields

Waymond Crowder

Austin Audette

Zack Tudor

Julia Bardocz

Mary Dinh

Clayton Espenel

Adrian Phanh

Phong Ta

Jonathan Hawes

Sam Adjibogoun

Ryan Vacano

Kim Townsend

Kaley Easton

Kayla Sanders

Aida Najafabadi

Anthony Xiong

Veshawn Saechao

Ryan Matthews

Ashley Moua

Shade Courtney

Alex Viegas Dias

James Jasso-Commack

Julius Hardman

Hunter Osborn

Denis Ramic

Fue Chee Vang

Calvin Haynes

Alexis Budar

Griffin Clover

Daniel Rodriguez Sanchez

Jet Vang

Timothy Vu

Aallan McKenzie

Ashley Jackson

Oscar Sieber

Sam Madden

Tayquaan Jackson

Carson Schafer

Matthew Silver

Ryan Nguyen

Giezi Tenorio-Robledo

Second- and third-place prizes also were awarded. They are as follows:

Second place ($400)

“Safety Joe”

Crescent Valley High School, Corvallis

Created by:

Danny Mason

Alex Vartanov

Third place ($300)

“Anytime, Anyplace”

Summit High School, Bend

Created by:

Marvin Walder

Ryan Walker

Olivia McGean

Amberly Schreinerwood

The creators of the top videos were presented their awards on Saturday during a special screening at Northern Lights Theatre and Pub in Salem. Sponsored by the Oregon Young Employee Safety Coalition (O[yes]), the annual video contest focuses on teen workers, who are twice as likely to be injured on the job, according to federal studies.

The contest is designed to increase awareness about safety for young workers, with the theme of “Speak up. Work safe.” Students were asked to create a 90-second or less video with a teen job safety and health message. The videos were judged on creativity, production value, youth appeal, and the overall safety and health message.

All of the winning videos, as well as the other finalists, are available for viewing on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5_HsiPb_rc&list=PLM75uPd4sBhx05JwZDmjYieJiG49qjsDx

The Oregon Young Employee Safety Coalition (O[yes]) organizes the contest. The sponsors are Oregon OSHA, SAIF Corporation, local Oregon chapters of the American Society of Safety Professionals, the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences at OHSU, Hoffman Construction, Central Oregon Safety & Health Association, the Oregon SHARP Alliance, the Construction Safety Summit, Northern Lights Theatre and Pub, SafeBuild Alliance, and the Pacific Northwest Section of the American Industrial Hygiene Association.

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Oregon OSHA, a division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, enforces the state’s workplace safety and health rules and works to improve workplace safety and health for all Oregon workers. For more information, visit www.osha.oregon.gov.

The Oregon Young Employee Safety Coalition (O[yes]) is a nonprofit dedicated to preventing young worker injuries and fatalities. O[yes] members include safety and health professionals, educators, employers, labor and trade associations, and regulators. For more information, go to http://youngemployeesafety.org/.