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News Releases
Learn to prevent Medicare fraud, errors, and abuse in a local workshop - 02/15/17

(Salem) -- The Senior Medicare Patrol knows how to spot and prevent health care fraud, and a representative will be in Coos County next month to share those tips.

Medicare beneficiaries, their families and caregivers are invited to attend the workshop on:
* Avoiding scams
* Identifying and reporting billing errors
* Protecting your Medicare number from theft

The workshop is Wednesday, March 8, from 1 to 2 p.m. at Coquille Valley Hospital, 940 E. 5th St., Coquille. To reserve a seat, call 800-722-4134 (toll-free).

"Whether it's a matter of fraud or genuine errors, misspending in Medicare wastes public dollars and can make it harder to get the care you need. The workshop will teach people to prevent both of those problems," said Miranda Mathae, instructor and a member of the Senior Medicare Patrol.

The Senior Medicare Patrol is a federally funded program operated in Oregon by SHIBA, the Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance program. SHIBA is sponsoring the workshop.

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Oregon SHIBA 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: http://twitter.com/OregonDCBS. Receive consumer help and information on insurance, mortgages, investments, workplace safety, and more.

Oregon OSHA adopts pesticide rules, will revisit some details - 02/09/17

(Salem) -- The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA) will adopt most of a set of updated pesticide rules, to protect Oregon farm workers and those who handle pesticides.

The rules, proposed in 2016, are a result of updates to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Worker Protection Standard. The updated standards affect areas such as training, pesticide labeling, and respiratory and emergency eye-washing requirements.

Another area addressed in the rules is protecting occupants of farm labor housing when pesticides are sprayed on nearby crops. Oregon OSHA received a significant amount of public comment about its proposal to protect these workers, and, as a result, it will kick off a new rulemaking early this year to revisit that issue.

The rules will take effect Jan. 1, 2018, to allow time for the additional rulemaking process and transition to the new standards.

"A lot of stakeholders have put in a lot of time and hard work to get the new Worker Protection Standard right," said Oregon OSHA Administrator Michael Wood. "We've received a range of public testimony and concerns. While we believe we're nearly there, we do have some more work to do to make sure we get this right."

In adopting most of the rule updates, Oregon OSHA is moving forward with several changes it introduced to reflect the unique circumstances for employers in Oregon, as well as embracing changes initiated by the EPA. It also made some adjustments based on public comments. For example, it streamlined the proposed training requirements for licensed trainers of pesticide handlers, based on feedback from the industry.

Oregon OSHA will re-convene the Small Agricultural Employer Advisory Committee to further review how to best protect farm labor housing occupants from pesticides. The committee includes representatives of labor, employers, grower organizations, and government and nonprofit agencies.

Oregon OSHA will ask the committee to focus on the specific issues involving the EPA-designated Application Exclusion Zone (AEZ). The zone surrounds and moves with certain pesticide-spray equipment during applications and must be free of all people other than appropriately trained and equipped pesticide handlers.

Oregon OSHA proposed a compliance alternative to the EPA's requirement that everyone be evacuated from the zone during outdoor pesticide applications. That alternative is commonly known as "shelter in place." It would allow occupants of protected spaces -- including fully-enclosed housing -- to remain indoors as protection from the potential hazard of spray drift as the zone created by pesticide-spray equipment in a nearby crop area passes by. Oregon OSHA would like the advisory committee to consider whether there are ways to strengthen not only the shelter in place alternative, but also the underlying exclusion zone requirement.

Oregon OSHA will ask the advisory committee to work with the agency on new draft language so the agency can re-propose the rule in time for it to take effect with the other revised sections of the WPS on Jan. 1, 2018. For more information about the advisory committee, visit http://osha.oregon.gov/rules/advisory/ag-emp/Pages/agriculture-employer.aspx/.

For more information about WPS and related rules, visit http://osha.oregon.gov/Pages/topics/worker-protection-standard.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.

Oregon to expand open enrollment outreach ahead of Jan. 31 deadline - 01/27/17

Media availability:
Friday, Jan. 27, 3 p.m.
Toll-free: 1-877-411-9748
Access Code: 186378

Patrick Allen, director of DCBS, and Berri Leslie, administrator of the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace, will discuss news and answer questions from reporters.



Salem -- The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) announced today it is taking steps to reach more Oregonians before the Jan. 31 deadline to enroll in individual health insurance plans.

With reports of the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) scaling back advertising for HealthCare.gov sign-ups, DCBS wants to make sure Oregonians have the information they need to enroll in 2017 health coverage.

"It's not clear today what outreach HealthCare.gov is doing," said Patrick Allen, DCBS director. "This is no time to make it harder for Oregonians to get the information they need on how to get coverage for themselves and their families for 2017."

The state will invest an additional $100,000 to expand its online marketing to reach people statewide. It also launched today a new video of one Oregonian's story of coverage, available at http://bit.ly/2kCyECP.

About 151,000 Oregonians already have chosen a plan through HealthCare.gov, outpacing every previous open enrollment total. Another 115,000 in Oregon may be eligible for financial assistance, but they have to enroll by Jan. 31.

In addition to increased marketing, the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace and its partners will be participating in the following open enrollment events this weekend:

Beaverton/Aloha
Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017
8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church
3145 SW 192nd Ave.
Beaverton, OR 97006

Salem
Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
PH Tech Headquarters
3993 Fairview Industrial Dr.
Salem, OR 97302

Oregon has a network of insurance agents and community organizations ready to help people enroll.

Agents and community partners all over the state are listed at http://www.oregonhealthcare.gov/get-help.html. Consumers also can call the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace at 1-855-268-3767 (toll-free).

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

After the Jan. 31 deadline, people will be able to get 2017 coverage only in special circumstances, like when they get married or lose job-related coverage.

Last chance to enroll in health insurance for 2017 - 01/25/17

(Salem) -- Tuesday, Jan. 31, is the last day to get 2017 health insurance during open enrollment. Oregonians who have not yet picked a plan can go to HealthCare.gov to enroll on their own or get application help from an expert. Financial assistance also is available, bringing down the cost of insurance for people who don't get health insurance at work.

"As I've helped people apply for coverage and choose plans, client after client has been pleased, and sometimes surprised, to see how affordable their options are once they take the financial assistance into account," said Tina Kennedy of Healthwise Insurance Planning in Portland.

So far this year, financial assistance averages $349 per month for Oregonians choosing plans through HealthCare.gov.

"People have heard a lot about insurance prices this year, but the only way to find out what your bottom line premium may be is to apply at HealthCare.gov," said Patrick Allen, director of the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS), which runs the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace.

More than 150,000 Oregonians already have chosen a plan through HealthCare.gov, outpacing every previous open enrollment total. Thousands more may be eligible for financial assistance. Oregon has a network of insurance agents and community organizations ready to help people enroll.

Agents and community partners all over the state are listed at http://www.oregonhealthcare.gov/get-help.html. Consumers also can call the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace at 1-855-268-3767 (toll-free).

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

After the Jan. 31 deadline, people will be able to get 2017 coverage only in special circumstances, like when they get married 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. For more information, go to dcbs.oregon.gov.