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Final week to buy health insurance and qualify for help paying for it; open enrollment ends Sunday, Dec. 15 (Photo) - 12/09/19

(Salem) – Oregonians who do not get health insurance through their employers and who do not qualify for the Oregon Health Plan have only until Sunday, Dec. 15, at 11:59 p.m. (Pacific) to sign up for coverage and get help paying for the coverage. Get started now by estimating your subsidy and reviewing the plans and prices at OregonHealthCare.gov/windowshop

“It’s a busy time of year, but don’t wait until the final hours. There are many health plans to choose from and you’re going to want time to shop for the right one,” said Chiqui Flowers, administrator of the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace. The Marketplace is a part of state government that helps connect Oregonians to coverage. It partners with HealthCare.gov, the website where people apply for federal subsidies.

Throughout Oregon, between seven and 41 plans are available, depending on your county. People who qualify for subsidies can use that financial help on any plan. Last year, 74 percent of Oregonians who enrolled through the Marketplace got subsidies. The average bottom-line premium for them was $140 per month.

Oregonians will see increased advertising in this final week of enrollment. Video and audio ads on Hulu, Spotify, broadcast TV, and other outlets highlight consumer testimonials and lay out how and why to enroll. Samples are online at http://bit.ly/subsidy-testimonials and http://bit.ly/coverage-and-subsidies.  

To get help filling out the subsidy application and reviewing health plan options, use the directory at OregonHealthCare.gov/gethelp, or call the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace at 1-855-268-3767 (toll-free).

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The Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace, a part of state government, helps people get health insurance when they do not have job-based coverage, and do not qualify for the Oregon Health Plan or another program. The Marketplace is the state-level partner to HealthCare.gov, and a division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS). For more information, go to OregonHealthCare.gov.

Attached Media Files: Marketplace_Logo.jpg
The Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace is online at OregonHealthCare.gov
The Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace is online at OregonHealthCare.gov
Five tips for the final 10 days to sign up for health insurance (Photo) - 12/05/19

(Salem) – Time is running out for people who want health insurance in 2020 but do not get coverage through their job or the Oregon Health Plan. Sunday, Dec. 15, is the last day to enroll in a health plan through the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace, our state’s pathway to subsidized coverage.

About 100,000 uninsured Oregonians may be eligible for help paying for their health insurance, but signups in Oregon are lagging so far this year. To get coverage or re-enroll in a plan, follow these five tips:

Tip No. 1: Get a quick estimate of your subsidy and bottom-line cost of coverage. Go to OregonHealthCare.gov/windowshop to see the size of the subsidy you may qualify for, and what your plan may cost once that financial assistance is factored in. People whose incomes are just above the limit for the Oregon Health Plan can find plans costing them as little as $1 per month, when they meet all eligibility requirements.

Tip No. 2: Get free, local help enrolling. Licensed insurance agents and certified community partners are ready to help you complete the application for subsidies, and sort through plan options. Choose an agent or partner in the directory at OregonHealthCare.gov/gethelp, or call the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace at 1-855-268-3767 (toll-free).

Tip No. 3: Get to know the new benefits in some plans. Consumers have reported that large deductibles on the lowest-priced plans sometimes keep them from getting care. In response, the state redesigned some plans to allow more services before the plan’s deductible is met. For the first time, plans with the words "standard bronze" in their name all cover primary care office visits for a flat $45 co-pay, even when the plan's $7,900 deductible has not been met. This plan type is among the options with a net cost of $1 per month for single people making about $19,000 a year and meeting a few other qualifications.

Tip No. 4: Hear from people who have gotten subsidies through the Marketplace. Health plan specifics matter, but so does the human impact of having coverage you can afford. If you need a two-minute break from insurance details, listen online to other Oregonians describe their experience with subsidized coverage at http://bit.ly/subsidy-testimonials.
 
Tip No. 5: Don’t miss the deadline. The deadline to enroll is Sunday, Dec. 15. If you miss it, you may go a year without health insurance. Avoid the risk and get started at OregonHealthCare.gov.

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The Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace, a part of state government, helps people get health insurance when they do not have job-based coverage, and do not qualify for the Oregon Health Plan or another program. The Marketplace is the state-level partner to HealthCare.gov, and a division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS). For more information, go to OregonHealthCare.gov.

Real health insurance for $1 a month? Subsidies make it possible for thousands through OregonHealthCare.gov (with video) - 11/26/19

(Salem) – Many single Oregonians making about $19,000 a year can qualify for a basic plan costing them, after a federal subsidy, $1 a month. People qualifying for deep subsidies are among the nearly 104,000 Oregonians who are estimated to qualify for financial help with their coverage but who remain uninsured.

Among that group, about 25,000 people of varying incomes and family sizes are estimated to have access to basic plans for a net premium of between $1 and $150. To get subsidized coverage for 2020, people must sign up by Dec. 15.

The amount of a person's premium subsidy—the price break they get on the monthly cost of coverage—varies based mostly on income and family size, with a few other qualifications. The $1 plans are available amid other choices, many with higher premiums and richer benefits, and all sold by private insurance companies and certified by the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace, a part of state government.

Solid estimates of subsidies, net premiums and plan options are available at OregonHealthCare.gov/windowshop. In new video ads for open enrollment, Oregonians talk about their experiences with financial help for health insurance.

Karl B., an independent contractor, says in one video, "Having the subsidy, having the benefits, through OregonHealthCare.gov, that really alleviates a lot of the pressure on me."

Deductibles on the lowest-cost plans are substantial, but some benefits are available before a person has to pay it.

"I always want my clients to know if a plan includes benefits they can access regardless of a high deductible, even when they haven't met that deductible" said Tina Kennedy, of Healthwise Insurance Planning in Portland. "Every plan through the Marketplace covers certain preventive care right away, at no extra cost to you, and on some large-deductible plans, you get office visits for a copay even when you haven't dented the deductible."

In Oregon, plans with the words "standard bronze" in their name all cover primary care office visits for a flat $45 copay, even when the plan's $7,900 deductible has not been met. This plan type is among the options with a net cost of $1 per month for people making around $19,000 a year and meeting a few other qualifications.

A certified community partner or licensed insurance agent can, at no cost to you, help you apply for a subsidy and translate health-plan plan details into dollars and cents for you. They are listed in a directory at OregonHealthCare.gov/gethelp. Only a licensed insurance agent can recommend the best plan for you.

To hear more from Karl B. and other Oregonians who got subsidies, visit https://youtu.be/LV-cL2jTZ8A, https://youtu.be/WZM5-JiTI4M, and https://youtu.be/-CNhrAFpHdE.


The Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace, a part of state government, helps people get health insurance when they do not have job-based coverage, and do not qualify for the Oregon Health Plan or another program. The Marketplace is the state-level partner to HealthCare.gov, and a division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS). For more information, go to OregonHealthCare.gov.

DCBS logo
DCBS logo
Fruit farm in The Dalles fined $37,800 for job safety violations (Photo) - 11/18/19

(Salem) – Oregon OSHA has fined Orchard View Inc., a fruit farm in The Dalles, $37,800 for five job safety violations – four of them repeat offenses – including failing to train employees in the safe operation of tractors. The failures exposed workers to serious injury or death.

The agency opened an inspection of the company in response to a confidential complaint. During the inspection, the agency found four tractor rollovers had occurred since 2012, resulting in three operators being injured. The most recent of those injuries happened in May when a tractor operator jumped from the vehicle when it rolled over on a steep incline.

The rollover problems prompted Oregon OSHA to expand its inspection of Orchard View.

The inspection found employees had raised concerns with the company about parking brakes on John Deere and Kubota tractors not being able to hold the loaded vehicles on the steep slopes in the orchard.

The company could have addressed those concerns by training employees to know when to avoid too-steep slopes, posting hazard signs indicating such situations, or allowing the tractor operator to stay in the cab – in control of the vehicle – by assigning another crew member to help with the work in the field.

Instead, Orchard View had this advice for tractor operators: Shove a piece of wood behind the wheels or drive on flat land.

In fact, four of the five violations cited by Oregon OSHA involved the company failing to follow requirements for safely operating tractors. Those violations are:

  • Failing to ensure that parking brakes can secure loaded tractors on any grade on which they park, and on any surface free of ice or snow.
  • Failing to train tractor operators to know when to stay off slopes too steep for safe operations in the orchard. Slopes that are too steep will likely cause a tractor to roll over. This was a repeat violation.
  • Failing to train tractor operators to fasten their seatbelts when the tractor has a rollover protective structure. This was a repeat violation.
  • Allowing employees to operate tractors on a sloped hillside without rollover protective devices in the upright position. This was a repeat violation.

“There are clear steps agricultural employers can take to control and eliminate hazards, and to provide proper safety training for their workers,” said Oregon OSHA Administrator Michael Wood. “As this case illustrates, ignoring such steps only serves to put people in harm’s way.”

Oregon OSHA also cited the company for failing to ensure its safety committee – after evaluating tractor rollovers – made recommendations to managers to prevent such potentially fatal accidents from happening again. This, too, was a repeat violation.

In addition to its enforcement activities, Oregon OSHA offers employers resources to help improve workplace safety and health.

The agency’s technical staff members can answer questions about rules and how to apply them:

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

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

Visit Oregon OSHA’s A-to-Z topic page about safety and health in agriculture: https://osha.oregon.gov/Pages/topics/agriculture.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.