Oregon Dept. of Consumer & Business Services
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News Releases
Consumer Warning: As Health Care Enrollment Ends, Beware of Non-Traditional Health Plans - 12/13/17

Media Alert:
Consumer warning: As health care enrollment ends, beware of nontraditional health plans that are not available on HealthCare.gov

Complaints are on the rise from Oregonians being lured into purchasing nontraditional health insurance plans.

As the enrollment deadline nears, consumers are encouraged to purchase their health coverage only from a trusted source.

Nontraditional plans typically offer low-cost coverage, but are not available at HealthCare.gov. These plans often lead to high cost of care and a high tax penalty.

The Department of Consumer and Business Services encourages consumers to:
* Beware of cold calls offering low-cost health coverage
* Purchase health insurance only from a trusted source, such as an agent you trust or HealthCare.gov.
* Do not sign any document stating the policy is not subject to Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements

If you believe a low-cost, time-sensitive policy will meet your specific health care needs, follow the steps above, carefully review the exclusions under the policy, and understand your own financial risk.

For more information about ACA-compliant plans available in Oregon, visit OregonHealthcare.gov.

Final five days: the HealthCare.gov deadline is this Friday - 12/11/17

(Salem) -- Friday, Dec. 15, is the last day to get 2018 health insurance during open enrollment. Oregonians who do not get coverage through their job or another program should go to HealthCare.gov and choose a plan before time runs out. HealthCare.gov is the only place to get help paying for coverage.

"People who need coverage and haven't enrolled at HealthCare.gov could be leaving money on the table," said Chiqui Flowers, administrator of the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace. "They should go to HealthCare.gov by Friday and see if they qualify for financial assistance."

In 2017, more than 70 percent of Oregonians using HealthCare.gov qualified for financial assistance, and they received an average of $346 per month to help pay for coverage. This year, individuals making less than about $48,000 annually or families of four making less than about $98,000 annually may qualify.

A recent analysis estimated that many Oregonians who were eligible to use HealthCare.gov and receive financial assistance did not enroll last year, including more than 78,000 men and more than 33,000 people ages 25 to 34.

"Enrollment this year has been strong so far, but as the deadline approaches, it's essential to take action if you need coverage or, if you've already signed up, remind your friends and family that it's time to enroll and see if they can get help paying for coverage," Flowers said.

To start shopping for plans, visit HealthCare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596 (toll-free) (TTY: 1-855-889-4325).

After the Dec. 15 deadline, people will be able to get 2018 coverage only in special circumstances, like when they move or lose job-related coverage.

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The Department of Consumer and Business Services is Oregon's largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. DCBS houses both the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace and the Division of Financial Regulation, among other divisions. For more information, go to dcbs.oregon.gov.

Event in Aloha will help people get or renew health insurance - 12/05/17

(Salem) -- Portland metro-area residents who need health insurance or have questions about renewing coverage through HealthCare.gov are invited to get free, in-person help at an event in Aloha on Saturday, Dec. 9.

The event, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., will be at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church, 3145 S.W. 192nd Ave. in Aloha.

Enrollment experts from Project Access Now, Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center, and the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace, as well as licensed insurance agents, will provide one-on-one assistance to attendees. They will help people enroll in private plans through HealthCare.gov or in no-cost Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid) coverage. Enrolling in coverage at the event will help HealthCare.gov customers meet the Dec. 15 open-enrollment deadline. The Oregon Heath Plan has no enrollment deadline.

The event is organized by Financial Beginnings Oregon, a financial-education group. Sponsors are the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation and the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace. The Division of Financial Regulation operates a consumer advocacy program and the Marketplace is the state-level counterpart to HealthCare.gov. Both agencies are part of the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services.

More information
The Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace offers general information for consumers through a local service center, which can be reached by calling 855-268-3767 (toll-free) between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or by emailing info.marketplace@oregon.gov

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The Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace is part of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, Oregon's largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. Visit www.dcbs.oregon.gov. Follow DCBS on Twitter: twitter.com/OregonDCBS. Receive consumer help and information on insurance, mortgages, investments, workplace safety, and more.

Just two weeks left to get coverage at HealthCare.gov; Oregonians who buy their own health insurance must enroll by Dec. 15 - 11/30/17

(Salem) -- The deadline is near for people who want health insurance in 2018, but don't get coverage through their job or another program. Open enrollment at HealthCare.gov ends at midnight on Dec. 15, about two weeks away.

"If you haven't focused on your health insurance yet, now is the time to do it," said Chiqui Flowers, administrator of the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace. "A licensed insurance agent or an expert from a certified community group can help you enroll, and their assistance is free."

Oregonians can find insurance agencies and organizations offering free enrollment help listed at OregonHealthCare.gov/gethelp.

The Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace, a division of the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services, has these tips for consumers:

* See if you qualify for help paying for your coverage, even if you did not qualify last year. The income qualifications adjust upward each year, and rising premiums can mean greater assistance for those who qualify for subsidies. Go to HealthCare.gov and start an application to find out if you can save money.

* Be aware of the Dec. 15 deadline in Oregon. There are other deadlines for insurance customers in California and Washington, but here in Oregon, the last day for most people to get individual or family coverage is Dec. 15.

* If you already have a 2017 health plan through HealthCare.gov, go back to your account to update your income information and shop for a 2018 plan. You may be counting on HealthCare.gov to automatically re-enroll you in coverage for next year. That works as a backup plan; however, there may be plans that are better for you and your budget. Plan prices and benefits change each year, and your income or household size may have changed, too. Log in to your HealthCare.gov account, update your information, and look at the 2018 plans to find the best fit for you or your family.

The Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace, the state-level partner to HealthCare.gov, can answer general questions about enrollment and connect people to in-person enrollment assistance. Call 1-855-268-3767 (toll-free) or visit OregonHealthCare.gov.

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The Department of Consumer and Business Services is Oregon's largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. DCBS houses the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace, along with other divisions. For more information, go to dcbs.oregon.gov.

State to host town hall meeting about Eternal Hills Funeral Home and Cemetery - 11/29/17

Salem -- Representatives from the State of Oregon will host a public town hall meeting in Klamath Falls on Monday, Dec. 4, about Eternal Hills Funeral Home and Cemetery. The meeting will be from 6 to 8 p.m. in Room 219 at the Klamath County Government Center, 305 Main St. in Klamath Falls.

On Sept. 13, the State of Oregon filed involuntary bankruptcy against Eternal Hills Memorial Gardens and Funeral Home, Inc. in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Eugene (Case Number 17-62784-tmr7). During the meeting, officials will provide an update on the current issues related to Eternal Hills Funeral Home and Cemetery and its pending bankruptcy. Community members will be able to ask questions about the status of Eternal Hills and what to expect.in the future. Officials will not be able to answer questions about specific contracts with Eternal Hills.

Representatives of the state and county at the town hall meeting will include:
* Eve Costello, Klamath County District Attorney
* Derrick DeGroot, Klamath County Commissioner
* Carolyn Wade, Oregon Department of Justice
* Brenda Biggs, Oregon Mortuary and Cemetery Board
* Ann Marie Garber, Oregon Division of Financial Regulation

The Division of Financial Regulation regulates endowment care cemeteries like Eternal Hills Memorial Gardens and Funeral Home. The State of Oregon, through the Oregon Mortuary and Cemetery Board and Division of Financial Regulation, is working to ensure that the Eternal Hills cemetery grounds are properly maintained and access is available for all.

The first meeting of bankruptcy creditors will also be held Dec. 5 at the Klamath County Courthouse at 10:30 a.m.; this meeting is open to the public.

People with complaints or questions about specific contracts or purchases made with Eternal Hills can take their paperwork to a local cemetery to receive assistance, call the Oregon Mortuary and Cemetery Board at 971-673-1500, or visit www.oregon.gov/mortcem.

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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 www.dfr.oregon.gov.

Appointments available at Gold Beach event to help people enroll in Medicare - 11/16/17

(Salem) -- Curry County residents who are newly eligible for Medicare or want to switch plans are invited to get free, in-person help at enrollment events in Gold Beach this month.

The events will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 28, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 29, at Southwestern Community College, 29392 Ellensburg Ave. in Gold Beach. To attend, reserve an appointment time by calling 503-947-7088 or emailing miranda.s.mathae@oregon.gov.

The Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance (SHIBA) program, is sponsoring the events. SHIBA, part of the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services, oversees a statewide network of trained volunteers who educate and advocate for people of all ages who have Medicare. The Medicare help provided at the Gold Beach events and throughout the SHIBA program is free of charge.

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The Department of Consumer and Business Services is Oregon's largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. Visit www.dcbs.oregon.gov. Follow DCBS on Twitter: twitter.com/OregonDCBS. Receive consumer help and information on insurance, mortgages, investments, workplace safety, and more.

Bend company earns safety, health recognition - 11/14/17

(Salem) -- Oregon OSHA has announced that Suterra LLC in Bend has graduated from the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP).

SHARP provides an incentive for Oregon employers to work with their employees to find and correct hazards, develop and implement effective safety and health programs, and continuously improve. The program encourages employers to become self-sufficient in managing workplace safety and health issues. Currently, about 23 employer locations in Oregon participate in SHARP. That's in addition to about 157 employers that have graduated from the program. An employer becomes a graduate when it completes five years of SHARP.

With 70 employees at the Bend facility, Suterra LLC is a leading provider of bio-rational products for crop protection and commercial pest control. Through international product sales, the company works to help growers reduce their use of traditional insecticides.

The SHARP program helped the company take a fresh look at its policies and processes, and reinforced the company's ongoing efforts to improve safety, according to Aman Khapoya, vice president of global operations for Suterra.

The recognition that comes with being a SHARP company also serves as a valuable tool to recruit new employees, Khapoya said.

"As our business grows and we compete for new talent, we hope candidates see our achievements under the SHARP program and realize that we are truly committed to the health and safety of our team," he said. "The candidates for whom that safety commitment is important are precisely the ones we want -- and the ones we will need to make Suterra even better."

Oregon employers that have been in business for more than one year are eligible to apply for SHARP, regardless of size or type of business, although the program is primarily designed to help small and mid-size businesses.

For information about SHARP, visit http://osha.oregon.gov/consult/Pages/SHARP.aspx.

For information about Oregon OSHA's no-cost consultation services, which help employers develop worker safety and health programs, visit http://osha.oregon.gov/consult/Pages/index.aspx.


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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. Follow DCBS on Twitter: twitter.com/OregonDCBS. Receive consumer help and information on insurance, mortgages, investments, workplace safety, and more.