Oregon Dept. of Consumer & Business Services
Emergency Messages as of 9:03 pm, Sun. Jul. 21
No information currently posted. Operating as usual.
News Releases
Final health insurance rate decisions lower 2020 premiums by $44 million - 07/15/19

(Salem) - The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation issued final rate decisions for small businesses and individuals who buy their own health insurance.

Final health insurance rates for the 2020 individual market have been lowered 1 percent on average from the division’s preliminary rate decisions, and 2 percent from the original requests filed by insurance companies in May. The final rates lower 2020 premiums by approximately $44 million from the original requests submitted by health insurance companies.

“Our collaborative rate review process has been key to building a stable health insurance market that enabled us to limit the individual market rate increase to an average of 1.5 percent,” said Insurance Commissioner Andrew Stolfi. “The Oregon Reinsurance Program has also continued to show its value, keeping individual rates 6 percent lower than they would be without the program. We are grateful to the legislature for passing and our stakeholders for supporting the six year extension of this important program.”

The division’s transparent rate review process brings insurance companies, the division, and the public together to review health insurance rates. The collaborative process ensures all data are thoroughly reviewed and considered before rates are charged to consumers.

Several factors, such as medical costs, federal policy changes, the Oregon Reinsurance Program, and federal risk adjustment payments are considered to make sure rates will adequately cover health care costs.

Individual market 
The division issued final decisions for seven companies in the individual market with average rate changes ranging from a 3.2 percent decrease to an 8.9 percent increase, for an average increase of 1.5 percent. Under the decisions, Silver Standard Plan premiums for a 40-year-old in Portland would range from $436 to $530 a month.

The preliminary rates included reductions for HeathNet and Kaiser. The final decisions include reductions for Bridgespan (2.8 percent increase lowered to 1.4 percent) and Providence (2.1 percent increase down to 0.0 percent rate hold). Regence was the only company to see a rate increase moving from 3.9 percent to 5.5 percent.

The rate changes are company-wide averages based on premiums for plans before financial assistance through Oregon’s Health Insurance Marketplace is taken into account.

All Oregonians who purchase their own insurance are encouraged to apply for assistance through the Marketplace for 2020, even if they did not qualify last year. In 2019, Oregonians who received help with the costs of their health insurance paid on average $140 a month.

Open enrollment for 2020 plans is from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15.

Small group market 
In the small group market, the division issued final decisions for nine companies with average rates ranging from a 2.3 percent decrease to an 11.7 percent increase. Under the decisions, Silver Standard Plan premiums for a 40-year-old in Portland would range from $321 to $394 a month.

Final rates include reductions from the preliminary decisions for five of the nine small group insurance companies.

See the chart for the full list of final decisions.  

Insurance companies have 21 days to request a hearing before the final rates are set for 2020.

More information for each insurance company can be found at oregonhealthrates.org. A complete premium comparison table for each county based on ages 21, 40, and 60 will be posted online in August.

###

About DCBS: 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.

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 www.dfr.oregon.gov.

 

Workplace safety, health training grants available - 07/09/19

(Salem) – If you have a dazzling idea for a workplace safety or health training program, Oregon OSHA wants to hear your pitch.

The agency is accepting grant applications for the creation of innovative on-the-job safety and health training programs. Applications are due by 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4. Oregon OSHA encourages unique projects such as mobile apps, videos, or online educational games to engage workers.

The training grants will focus on programs that target a high-hazard Oregon industry, such as construction or agriculture, or a specific work process to reduce or eliminate hazards. Any employer, labor group, school affiliated with a labor group, or nonprofit organization may apply. Applicants may request up to $40,000 per grant project.

Employers are not allowed to use grants to pay for training for their employees. Materials produced by grant recipients become the property of Oregon OSHA. Many of the materials are housed in the Oregon OSHA Resource Center and are available for use by the public. Some materials are available electronically.

Some examples of past grant projects include:

  • Spanish-language flip charts designed to help prevent heat-related illness among forest workers
  • Creation of safe design guidelines for anchoring systems used as part of logging operations
  • An educational program for nurses to prevent ergonomic-related injuries

The Oregon Legislature launched the Occupational Safety and Health Education and Training Grant Program in 1990. Award recommendations are made by Oregon OSHA’s Safe Employment Education and Training Advisory Committee, a group with members from business, labor, and government.

Grant application information is available at http://osha.oregon.gov/edu/grants/Pages/default.aspx. For more information, contact Teri Watson at 503-947-7406 or i.a.watson@oregon.gov">teri.a.watson@oregon.gov.

###

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.

 

Preliminary rate decisions for 2020 health plans revealed - 06/26/19

Salem — Oregonians can now see the state’s preliminary rate decisions for 2020 individual and small employer health insurance plans. The Division of Financial Regulation must review and approve any rates before they can be charged to policyholders.

Preliminary rate decisions are for individuals who buy their own coverage rather than getting it through an employer and for small businesses.

In the individual market, the division has issued preliminary decisions for seven companies with average rate changes ranging from a 3.2 percent decrease to a 8.9 percent increase, for an average of 2.3 percent. As a comparison, insurers originally requested rates ranging from an average 3.2 percent decrease to an average 13.5 percent increase, for an average of 3.3 percent.

Under the preliminary decisions, Silver Standard Plan premiums for a 40-year-old in Portland would range from $436 to $530 a month.

“Although rates are still rising for many consumers, we are encouraged to see the health insurance market stabilizing,” said Andrew Stolfi, insurance commissioner. “Part of the stabilization is due to the Oregon Reinsurance Program providing some relief, enabling carriers to expand coverage into additional counties and keeping rate increases lower than they could have been without it.”

In the small group market, the division has reviewed each company’s rate request and plans to approve the rates as filed. The average rate increases range from a 0.3 percent decrease to a 13.1 percent increase. Under the preliminary decisions, Silver Standard Plan premiums for a 40-year-old in Portland would range from $328 to $394 a month.

See our chart for a full list of preliminary decisions.

 Common trends that affect rates include:

  • Medical costs continue to rise, driven by increased use and the cost of new specialized prescription drugs.
  • The cost of providing care continues to surpass premiums collected for many carriers.
  • Federal policy changes, including the zeroing out of the individual mandate and federal rule changes around short-term limited-duration plans and association health plans, contributed an average of 7 percentage points to rate increases.
  • The Oregon Reinsurance Program, which was renewed by the legislature for six more years, continues to lower rates by 6 percent each year.

These preliminary decisions will undergo continued review and discussion through public hearings held in Salem and streamed online July 2-3. The public comment period also will remain open through 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, July 3.

All Oregonians are encouraged to participate during the public comment period. Visit www.oregonhealthrates.org to see a chart detailing changes to each plan for 2020, review each insurance company’s public hearing schedule, and submit comments regarding specific health insurance company’s rates.

Final decisions are expected to be announced Tuesday, July 23.

###

 

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.

 

Oregon OSHA offers employers new online fall protection training - 06/25/19

(Salem) – Oregon OSHA has launched a free online course to help employers and workers across the state meet the agency’s requirements to eliminate fall hazards, prevent falls, and ensure that workers who do fall do not die.

The two-hour course, “Fundamentals of Fall Protection,” which includes six parts with 28 videos, is designed to supplement employers’ fall protection training programs. It provides an overview of the rules, features interviews with experts, and provides links to additional information. Moreover, the course defines what fall protection means; walks viewers through fall protection options; delves into equipment inspection and maintenance; and shows viewers how to begin using fall protection.

It also brings into sharp focus the broken lives that result from failing to address fall hazards. One of the videos features a husband and wife, Russ and Laurel Youngstrom, who share their story of Russ Youngstrom’s fall in 1995 from a scaffold. The accident severed his spinal cord, left him a paraplegic, and changed his family’s life forever.

The Youngstroms have dedicated their lives to speaking out and advocating for safety. “Think of your kids,” Russ Youngstrom said. “Put a picture of them on your hard hat, on your excavator, something to remind you why you’re at work.”

Fall hazards are present at nearly every workplace. The human and economic costs of ignoring them cannot be overstated:

  • One in five workplace deaths are due to slips, trips, and falls, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • From 2013 to 2018, there were 7,195 accepted disabling claims in Oregon due to falls to a lower level.
  • In 2018, fall protection was the most commonly cited violation for Oregon’s construction industry, with 443 total violations and initial penalties of $902,990.
  • In one year, fall injuries cost the U.S. economy more than $13 billion, according to the National Safety Council.  

“We encourage employers and workers in Oregon to add this flexible, user-friendly online tool to their fall protection toolbox,” said Roy Kroker, consultation and public education manager for Oregon OSHA. “There’s more to come, too, as we roll out our entire online suite of fall protection courses.”

Indeed, “Fundamentals of Fall Protection” is the first of five online courses about fall protection that will be released during the summer and fall of 2019. The additional courses will address specific industries. When published, all five courses will offer more than 100 videos.

For now, the “Fundamentals” course – which includes the opportunity to receive a certificate of completion – is available online: https://osha.oregon.gov/edu/courses/Pages/fall-protection-online-course.aspx

Oregon OSHA encourages the use of online training. Learn more: https://osha.oregon.gov/edu/courses/Pages/default.aspx

Oregon OSHA’s technical staff can answer questions to help employers understand how to apply rules to their workplace:

Phone: 503-378-3272

Toll-free in Oregon: 800-922-2689

Email: tech.web@oregon.gov

Online contact form: https://osha.oregon.gov/Pages/Contact-Technical.aspx

Employers may also contact Oregon OSHA’s no-cost consultation services for help with safety and health programs:

Phone: 503-378-3272

Toll-free in Oregon: 800-922-2689

Field office locations and phone numbers: https://osha.oregon.gov/Pages/maps.aspx

Email: consult.web@oregon.gov

###

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.