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News Releases
Free workshop on health insurance basics in Hermiston to be provided in English and Spanish - 05/17/17

(Salem) -- The Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace will sponsor "Building Blocks of Health Insurance," a free two-hour workshop on understanding health insurance, next month in Hermiston. The information will be delivered in English and Spanish.

The event, which is open to the public, will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Monday, June 12, at Good Shepherd Hospital, 610 NW 11th St. in Hermiston.

Attendees will receive information to help them be confident health coverage consumers. Experienced health-insurance educators from the Marketplace will present on:
* Types of health insurance, including Medicare, the Oregon Health Plan, and individual and family plans
* Summary of Benefits documents
* Explanation of Benefits letters
* Eligibility for financial assistance

To attend, register by calling 855-268-3767 (toll-free) or 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.

Free workshop on health insurance basics set for Tillamook on June 6 - 05/17/17

(Salem) -- The Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace will sponsor "Building Blocks of Health Insurance," a free two-hour workshop on understanding health insurance, next month in Tillamook.

The event, which is open to the public, will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, June 6, at the Tillamook County Main Library, 1716 Third St. in Tillamook.

Attendees will receive information to help them be confident health coverage consumers. An experienced health-insurance educator from the Marketplace will present on:
* Types of health insurance, including Medicare, the Oregon Health Plan, and individual and family plans
* Summary of Benefits documents
* Explanation of Benefits letters
* Eligibility for financial assistance

To attend, register by calling 855-268-3767 (toll-free) or 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.

State begins review of 2018 proposed health insurance rates - 05/16/17

Salem -- Oregonians can now see proposed rates for 2018 individual and small employer health insurance plans.

Health insurance companies submitted rate requests to the Department of Consumer and Business Services, Division of Financial Regulation on May 15. The division must review and approve any rates before they can be charged to policyholders.

The proposed rates are for health insurance 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.

"This marks the beginning of our open and transparent health insurance rate review process," said Insurance Commissioner Laura Cali Robison. "Oregonians will be able to follow along and provide comments as we analyze the requested rates to ensure they adequately cover health care costs without being too high or too low."

In the individual market, eight companies submitted average rate change requests ranging from a 6.9 percent to a 21.8 percent increase. In the small group market, 10 companies submitted average rate requests ranging from a 2 percent to an 8.5 percent increase. See the chart at http://dfr.oregon.gov/news/documents/2018-proposed-health-ins-rates.pdf for the full list of rate requests.

Rates are required to reflect the average cost of providing health care to a member in Oregon's health insurance market. The division has determined that the average cost of paying claims in the individual health insurance market in 2016 was $384 per member per month; in 2015, the average cost of paying claims was $385 per member per month. Health insurance companies are required to justify any differences to this average in their rate filings.

This year's rate requests follow two years of significant rate increases as insurers have adjusted to changes in the individual market. Rates increased an average of 23 percent in 2016 and 27 percent in 2017. Medical claims for Oregonians have been higher than expected, and federal programs aimed at limiting risk for insurers have ended. Many health insurers have also chosen to shrink their presence in some areas of the state.

Although there have been signs that the market is stabilizing, there is significant uncertainty about the future as repeal or changes to the Affordable Care Act are considered by Congress. Other examples of uncertainty include whether the individual mandate will be enforced and whether cost-sharing subsidies will continue to be paid to insurers. Changes to either of these programs would create significant challenges for Oregon's health insurance market.

Insurance companies are required to file rates assuming that cost-sharing subsidies will be paid and that the Affordable Care Act will continue to be in place in its current form in 2018. In the event of changes to these programs or the law, the division will work with companies to make adjustments as needed.

"We know there are still many unknowns facing insurers and consumers as we look ahead to 2018," Cali Robison said. "Now that the filings are in, we will begin our vigorous review to ensure the proposed rate changes, including the potential impact of various sources of uncertainty, are actuarially sound and justified."

The rate filings also provide a glimpse into what choices will be available to Oregonians in 2018.

Based on the filings, most counties in Oregon will have multiple companies to choose from on and off the marketplace. The exceptions are Lane, Lincoln, and Tillamook counties -- in those counties only two carriers filed plans (just one, Providence, with plans on the marketplace). DCBS will work with insurers during the rate review process to try to provide more choice in these areas.

"We continue to be concerned about the level of choice for Oregonians across the state," said Patrick Allen, DCBS director. "In the coming weeks, we will be exploring our options to ensure all Oregonians have access to plans that fit their needs."

Starting Monday, May 22, Oregonians will be able to search rate filings and submit comments at oregonhealthrates.org. Once scheduled, hearing information will be posted to this website.

Oregonians are encouraged to comment on rate change requests during the public comment period, which is open Monday, May 22, through Tuesday, July 11. The public can submit comments online and during public rate hearings.

Preliminary decisions will be announced Thursday, June 29, and final decisions will be released Thursday, July 20.

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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 dcbs.oregon.gov and dfr.oregon.gov.

Health insurance basics to be covered in a free workshop June 27 - 05/11/17

(Salem) -- The Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace will sponsor "Building Blocks of Health Insurance," a free two-hour workshop on understanding health insurance, later this month in Albany.

The event, which is open to the public, will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 27, at the Albany Public Library, 2450 14th Avenue.

Attendees will receive information to help them be confident health coverage consumers. An experienced health-insurance educator from the Marketplace will present on:
* Types of health insurance, including Medicare, the Oregon Health Plan, and individual and family plans
* Summary of Benefits documents
* Explanation of Benefits letters
* Eligibility for financial assistance

To attend, register in advance by calling 855-268-3767 (toll-free) or emailing info.marketplace@oregon.gov.

Health insurance basics to be covered in a free workshop June 1 - 05/11/17

(Salem) -- The Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace will sponsor "Building Blocks of Health Insurance," a free two-hour workshop on understanding health insurance, later this month in Dallas.

The event, which is open to the public, will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 1, at the Dallas Public Library, 950 Main Street.

Attendees will receive information to help them be confident health coverage consumers. An experienced health-insurance educator from the Marketplace will present on:
* Types of health insurance, including Medicare, the Oregon Health Plan, and individual and family plans
* Summary of Benefits documents
* Explanation of Benefits letters
* Eligibility for financial assistance

To attend, register in advance by calling 855-268-3767 (toll-free) or emailing info.marketplace@oregon.gov.

Health insurance basics to be covered in a free workshop May 25 - 05/11/17

(Salem) -- The Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace will sponsor "Building Blocks of Health Insurance," a free two-hour workshop on understanding health insurance, later this month in Silverton.

The event, which is open to the public, will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 25, at the Silver Falls Public Library, 410 S. Water Street.

Attendees will receive information to help them be confident health coverage consumers. An experienced health-insurance educator from the Marketplace will present on:
* Types of health insurance, including Medicare, the Oregon Health Plan, and individual and family plans
* Summary of Benefits documents
* Explanation of Benefits letters
* Eligibility for financial assistance

To attend, register in advance by calling 855-268-3767 (toll-free) or emailing info.marketplace@oregon.gov.

Health insurance basics to be covered in a free workshop May 24 - 05/11/17

(Salem) -- The Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace will sponsor "Building Blocks of Health Insurance," a free two-hour workshop on understanding health insurance, later this month in Corvallis.

The event, which is open to the public, will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, May 24, at the Corvallis-Benton County Library, 645 N.W. Monroe Avenue.

Attendees will receive information to help them be confident health coverage consumers. An experienced health-insurance educator from the Marketplace will present on:
* Types of health insurance, including Medicare, the Oregon Health Plan, and individual and family plans
* Summary of Benefits documents
* Explanation of Benefits letters
* Eligibility for financial assistance

To attend, register in advance by calling 855-268-3767 (toll-free) or emailing info.marketplace@oregon.gov.

Pendleton to host Blue Mountain safety conference - 05/09/17

(Salem) -- A two-day event in Pendleton will offer employers and workers a variety of opportunities to improve on-the-job safety and health. Topics covered include ladder and forklift safety, fall protection, hazard identification, and effective personal communication.

Oregon OSHA, a division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, is one of several partners presenting the June 5-6 Blue Mountain Occupational Safety and Health Conference at the Pendleton Convention Center.

On Tuesday, June 6, keynote speaker Al Arguedas, a longtime safety professional based in the Portland area, will present "When Do You Engage Your Inner Safety Director?" Arguedas, owner of AJA Associates LLC -- a safety leadership and management consulting firm -- said he hopes to drive home the point that, when it comes to safety, there are no shortcuts.

"The challenge, the desired result, is for safety to become a personal value to us," he said. "Not because we must be compliant, but because is it important, relevant and non-negotiable to us. Mandated or not, we choose to be safe."

Arguedas said the conference will provide training, education, best practices, and opportunities to interact with others who are concerned about worker safety. "What can be more noble than ensuring workers get home safe to their loved ones at the end of the work day?" he said.

Other conference topics include:
* Proper fit and use of hearing protection
* Setting the stage for behavior change: Total Worker Health
* Practical strategies for preventing slips, trips, and falls
* Safety culture: What is it, and how can you make it better?

The event also will include a Forklift Round-Up on June 5. Conference registration is $75, which includes lunch. The cost to compete in the Forklift Round-Up is $50. For more information about the two-day event or to register, go to https://safetyseries.cvent.com/blue17.


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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.

Parkrose High School students win safety video contest - 05/01/17

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

The video takes a page from the Mannequin Challenge, a viral Internet trend, with young workers frozen in various scenes of workplace accidents. It imagines reversing time to eliminate hazards by wearing protective gloves, using a ladder safely, and handling electrical equipment properly.

Parkrose High School also won a matching amount of prize money. The win marks the second year in a row that Parkrose has won first place. In last year's contest, the school won both first- and second-place prizes.

Justin Arandia, a senior at Parkrose who oversaw the video's direction, recording, and editing, said he and his classmates learned a lot from the process.

"It's so easy to make mistakes when trying to complete a job that involves dangerous equipment," he said. "The public needs to be educated on how to properly use these tools to prevent any injuries."

Winning first place is an honor, Arandia added. "I am very proud of all the students who were involved, making all of this possible," he said. "They put so much work into creating 'Rewind'."

The other members of the Parkrose High School team are:
Sophia Swim
Anna Kotris
Eli Brave Hawk
Elizabeth Simkovic
Juney Prasad
Hunter Osborn
Eddie Penalver
Rohan Ravi
Mason Swinehart
Edwin Melo-Molina
Hector Amezola
Jacob Mansfield
Julia Bardocz
Shastina Hardman
Evelyn Ortiz-Vargas
Denis Cehic
Emiliano Flores
Kim Townsend

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

Second place ($400)
"Your Future's On Its Way"
Southridge High School, Beaverton

Isaac O'Farrell
Davis Keeter
Nathan Parrott
Nicholas Rex
Brendan Long

Third place ($300)
"Speak Up"
West Albany High School, Albany

John Nordal
Kyle Smith

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 video with a teen job safety and health message and 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/playlist?list=PLM75uPd4sBhxqPsb1WYCJ7ZzEJqQMFleG

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 Engineers, the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences at OHSU, Hoffman Construction, Central Oregon Safety & Health Association, the SHARP Alliance, the Construction Safety Summit, SafeBuild Alliance, and the Oregon Farm Bureau Health and Safety Committee.


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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/.